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Insects 2015, 6(2), 538-575; doi:10.3390/insects6020538

Ecological Interactions Affecting the Efficacy of Aphidius colemani in Greenhouse Crops

1
David Clark Labs, Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
2
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 4890 Victoria Avenue North, Vineland, ON L0R 2E0, Canada
3
Gardner Hall, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew G.S. Cuthbertson
Received: 27 March 2015 / Revised: 29 May 2015 / Accepted: 1 June 2015 / Published: 11 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pest Control in Glasshouses)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [326 KB, uploaded 11 June 2015]   |  

Abstract

Aphidius colemani Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a solitary endoparasitoid used for biological control of many economically important pest aphids. Given its widespread use, a vast array of literature on this natural enemy exists. Though often highly effective for aphid suppression, the literature reveals that A. colemani efficacy within greenhouse production systems can be reduced by many stressors, both biotic (plants, aphid hosts, other natural enemies) and abiotic (climate and lighting). For example, effects from 3rd and 4th trophic levels (fungal-based control products, hyperparasitoids) can suddenly decimate A. colemani populations. But, the most chronic negative effects (reduced parasitoid foraging efficiency, fitness) seem to be from stressors at the first trophic level. Negative effects from the 1st trophic level are difficult to mediate since growers are usually constrained to particular plant varieties due to market demands. Major research gaps identified by our review include determining how plants, aphid hosts, and A. colemani interact to affect the net aphid population, and how production conditions such as temperature, humidity and lighting affect both the population growth rate of A. colemani and its target pest. Decades of research have made A. colemani an essential part of biological control programs in greenhouse crops. Future gains in A. colemani efficacy and aphid biological control will require an interdisciplinary, systems approach that considers plant production and climate effects at all trophic levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: tritrophic interactions; aphid biological control; parasitoid abundance; parasitoid attack rate; abiotic factors tritrophic interactions; aphid biological control; parasitoid abundance; parasitoid attack rate; abiotic factors
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Prado, S.G.; Jandricic, S.E.; Frank, S.D. Ecological Interactions Affecting the Efficacy of Aphidius colemani in Greenhouse Crops. Insects 2015, 6, 538-575.

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