We assessed the ability of Trichogramma ostriniae (Peng & Chen) to locate and parasitize Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) eggs in crops other than corn, and we evaluated the efficacy of inundative releases of the parasitoid in two solanaceous crops, pepper and potato. Despite a greater plant surface area to search, parasitism of O. nubilalis eggs was consistently higher in sweet corn than dicotyledonous crops such as pepper, snap bean, broccoli, potato, and melon, in choice and no-choice experiments. Nonetheless, in 2002 and 2003, we made four to five separate inundative releases of ≈30,000–50,000 T. ostriniae per 0.02 ha in nine pepper fields in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts and compared O. nubilalis egg parasitization and fruit damage in those plots with spatially isolated nonrelease plots. Egg parasitization averaged 48.7% in T. ostriniae release plots, which was significantly higher than in nonrelease plots (1.9%). Also, cumulative pepper fruit damage averaged 8.7% in release plots, which was significantly less than in nonrelease plots (27.3%). In potatoes in 2002 and 2003, we made two releases of ≈75,000 T. ostriniae per 0.2 ha in nine fields in Maine and Virginia and compared O. nubilalis damage in those plots with that in nonrelease plots. T. ostriniae releases significantly reduced the number of tunnel holes and number of O. nubilalis larvae in potato stems. We conclude that this parasitoid has great potential as a biocontrol agent for O. nubilalis in solanaceous crops.
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Vol. 97 • No. 4