Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Physiology, Reproduction and Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021) | Viewed by 34177

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, 40127 Bologna, Italy
Interests: insect rearing; parasitoids; exotic insect management; biological control

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Guest Editor
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Interests: integrated pest management; biological control; insect rearing

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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Insect Biology, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, University of São Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil
Interests: biological control; insect biology; parasitoids; integrated pest management

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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Insect Biology, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Interests: insect rearing; biological control; integrated pest management; parasitoids; applied biology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Insects will be a collection of papers that describe current rearing techniques for biological control agents of insects, mites, and weeds. Effective and efficient rearing techniques are essential, both small-scale for enabling entomological research and large-scale for use in sustainable pest management. Development of successful techniques for rearing biological control agents depends on knowledge of their behavior and ecology, including environmental conditions, host availability and acceptance, and specific requirements for each stage of development. Therefore, rearing techniques described in this Special Issue will incorporate the biology of each species, highlighting advancements such as artificial diets, innovative methods, novel materials, and specialized equipment. The techniques in the papers will also be related to applications for the agents and associated quality assurance.

Prof. Dr. Maria Luisa Dindo
Prof. Dr. Norman C. Leppla
Prof. Dr. Aloisio Coelho Junior
Prof. Dr. José Roberto Postali Parra
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information 

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Keywords

  • rearing
  • parasitoids
  • insect predators
  • weed biocontrol agents
  • quality control
  • artificial diets
  • biological control

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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8 pages, 1138 KiB  
Article
Effect of the Amount of Ephestia kuehniella Eggs for Rearing on Development, Survival, and Reproduction of Orius laevigatus
by Francisco Javier Gallego, Amador Rodríguez-Gómez, María del Carmen Reche, Virginia Balanza and Pablo Bielza
Insects 2022, 13(3), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030250 - 01 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2563
Abstract
Orius laevigatus is a key tool for the success of augmentative biological control programs in protected crops. This biological control agent is mass-reared feeding on eggs of Ephestia kuehniella. However, this factitious prey is expensive, accounting for a significant percentage of the [...] Read more.
Orius laevigatus is a key tool for the success of augmentative biological control programs in protected crops. This biological control agent is mass-reared feeding on eggs of Ephestia kuehniella. However, this factitious prey is expensive, accounting for a significant percentage of the rearing costs. Therefore, there is a need to optimize the amount of Ephestia eggs needed per individual leading to a cost reduction, which in turn will favor biological control adoption. This study investigated the effect of the amount of Ephestia eggs provided on the developmental and reproductive fitness of O. laevigatus. At least a daily supply of 1 and 3 Ephestia eggs was needed for optimal development of the first two nymphal instars, respectively, although for maximum survival, 1 egg was enough for both instars. For subsequent development until adulthood, a minimum of 8 eggs per day were needed to fully support growth, but only 3 eggs for optimal survival. Similarly, male body size was also maximized by feeding 8 eggs, but for maximum female body size 10 eggs per day were required. Oviposition rate of females increased with the daily number of Ephestia eggs provided, until a plateau was reached at 8 eggs/day. Benefits and savings for industrial production of O. laevigatus are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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14 pages, 1684 KiB  
Article
Use of Pyriproxyfen to Induce Oogenesis in Diapausing Megacopta cribraria (Heteroptera: Plataspidae), and Evaluation of Pyriproxyfen-Induced Eggs for Rearing the Parasitoid Paratelenomus saccharalis (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae)
by Cory Penca, Nicholas C. Goltz, Amanda C. Hodges, Norman C. Leppla, Joseph E. Eger and Trevor R. Smith
Insects 2022, 13(1), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010089 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1399
Abstract
The mass rearing of hymenopteran egg parasitoids requires an abundant supply of host eggs. The onset of reproductive diapause and subsequent decline in egg production poses a challenge for parasitoid rearing when using host colonies augmented by field-collected insects. We investigated the application [...] Read more.
The mass rearing of hymenopteran egg parasitoids requires an abundant supply of host eggs. The onset of reproductive diapause and subsequent decline in egg production poses a challenge for parasitoid rearing when using host colonies augmented by field-collected insects. We investigated the application of pyriproxyfen, a juvenile hormone analog, to induce oviposition in diapausing adult kudzu bugs, Megacopta cribraria (Fabricius) (Heteroptera: Plataspidae), and the use of eggs produced by pyriproxyfen-treated kudzu bugs to rear the egg parasitoid, Paratelenomus saccharalis (Dodd) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae). The effects of pyriproxyfen and photoperiod treatments on host mortality, egg production, and rates of parasitoid eclosion from the eggs were used to calculate the parasitoid yield for the different treatment regimes. A combination of pyriproxyfen and a long-day photoperiod increased the parasitoid yield by 87% compared to acetone and a long-day photoperiod. The general applicability of JH-analog mediated egg production for parasitoid rearing is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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14 pages, 18061 KiB  
Article
Basic Studies Aiming at Orius minutus (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae) Mass-Rearing
by Hye-Jeong Jun, Kyoung-Su Kim and Eun-Hye Ham
Insects 2022, 13(1), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010077 - 10 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1968
Abstract
This study presented biological and economic data for the mass-rearing of Orius minutus in Korea. Simplifying the mass-rearing process through an alternative diet and an artificial oviposition substrate is a prerequisite for enhancing the usability of this insect as a biological control agent. [...] Read more.
This study presented biological and economic data for the mass-rearing of Orius minutus in Korea. Simplifying the mass-rearing process through an alternative diet and an artificial oviposition substrate is a prerequisite for enhancing the usability of this insect as a biological control agent. We compare the hatch rate of O. minutus eggs deposited on a plant substrate with that of eggs deposited on two artificial substrates, cork sheets and rubber. The results indicate that cork sheet is the most cost-effective artificial oviposition substrate for the mass-rearing of O. minutus. We also examine five feeding treatments that included two types of brine shrimp eggs and eggs of Ephestia cautella to compare the number of eggs laid in the fifth generation. We found no significant difference between the two treatment groups; 61.3 eggs were laid in the treatment group fed iron-coated brine shrimp and moth eggs, and 67.4 eggs were laid in the control group. The plant-free model developed in our study can reduce rearing costs by 70.5% compared to the conventional mass-rearing model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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8 pages, 424 KiB  
Article
Advancements in Mass Rearing the Air Potato Beetle Lilioceris cheni
by Emily C. Kraus, Rosemary Murray, Cassandra Kelm, Ryan Poffenberger, Eric Rohrig and Kate Fairbanks
Insects 2022, 13(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010065 - 06 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1650
Abstract
The air potato beetle, Lilioceris cheni Gressitt and Kimoto (Coleoptera:Chrysomelidae), is a successful biological control agent of the air potato vine, Dioscorea bulbifera L. (Dioscoreales: Dioscoreaceae), in the southern United States. Lilioceris cheni is currently being mass-reared by the Florida Department [...] Read more.
The air potato beetle, Lilioceris cheni Gressitt and Kimoto (Coleoptera:Chrysomelidae), is a successful biological control agent of the air potato vine, Dioscorea bulbifera L. (Dioscoreales: Dioscoreaceae), in the southern United States. Lilioceris cheni is currently being mass-reared by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry (FDACS-DPI) for biological control releases and research. The facility rears and releases over 50,000 adult beetles annually at approximately 1000 different locations. In addition to data on beetle production and distribution, studies on alternative larval and adult diets are described. Adults fed bulbils as the sole food source had reduced life spans compared with beetles given fresh air potato leaves. Adults survived without air potato leaves or bulbils for several days to two weeks depending on availability of leaves at emergence. Larvae did not survive on a modified artificial Colorado potato beetle diet containing fresh air potato vine leaves. Adults survived while consuming artificial diet but ceased oviposition. They, however, resumed egg laying less than one week after being returned to a diet of fresh air potato vine leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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8 pages, 9971 KiB  
Article
Small-Scale Production of Amblyseius tamatavensis with Thyreophagus cracentiseta (Acari: Phytoseiidae, Acaridae)
by Marcela Massaro, Matheus Montrazi, José Wagner S. Melo and Gilberto J. de Moraes
Insects 2021, 12(10), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12100848 - 22 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1854
Abstract
Amblyseius tamatavensis, a predatory mite, has been mentioned as potentially useful for the control of Bemisia tabaci. The objective of this work was to compare the production rates of A. tamatavensis in closed units containing T. cracentiseta as food, at different [...] Read more.
Amblyseius tamatavensis, a predatory mite, has been mentioned as potentially useful for the control of Bemisia tabaci. The objective of this work was to compare the production rates of A. tamatavensis in closed units containing T. cracentiseta as food, at different combinations of numbers of predator inoculated, periods of production and volumes of rearing units. Final predator densities increased with increasing production periods up to 30–45 days, reducing afterward. Likewise, maximum final densities increased with increasing predator inoculation levels, up to 200 predators per rearing unit. The results led us to select the proportion of 150 predators per unit for a production period of 30 days to evaluate the effect of the size of the experimental unit. Then, in the second part of the study, a direct relationship was observed between volume and final predator density (y = 8610.25x + 2166.04; R2 = 0.99; p < 0.0001). It was also calculated that ri value was quite stable (0113–0.119), with a calculated value of 0.115 at all volumes of rearing units. It can be concluded that progressively larger numbers of predators can be obtained with progressively larger rearing units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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13 pages, 1366 KiB  
Article
Implementing Mass Rearing of Trissolcus japonicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) on Cold-Stored Host Eggs
by Barbara Bittau, Maria Luisa Dindo, Giovanni Burgio, Giuseppino Sabbatini-Peverieri, Kim Alan Hoelmer, Pio Federico Roversi and Antonio Masetti
Insects 2021, 12(9), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12090840 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2296
Abstract
Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), a pest of Asian origin, has been causing severe damage to Italian agriculture. The application of classical biological control by the release of Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), an exotic egg parasitoid, appears to be one promising solution. [...] Read more.
Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), a pest of Asian origin, has been causing severe damage to Italian agriculture. The application of classical biological control by the release of Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), an exotic egg parasitoid, appears to be one promising solution. In Italy, releases of T. japonicus in the field were authorized in 2020. In this study, some parameters that could influence the rearing of T. japonicus in insectaries were investigated. A significantly higher production of progeny was observed on host eggs stored at 6 °C (86.5%) compared to −24 °C (48.8%) for up to two months prior to exposure to parasitism. There were no significant differences in progeny production from single females in a vial provided with only one egg mass (83.2%) or 10 females inside a cage with 6 egg masses (83.9%). The exposure of parasitoids to refrigerated (6 °C) egg masses of H. halys for 72 h led to a significantly higher production of progeny (62.1%) compared to shorter exposures for 48 (44.0%) or 24 h (37.1%). A decline in production of progeny by the same female was detected between the first (62.1%) and the second parasitization (41.3%). Adult parasitoids stored at 16 °C for up to 90 days had an 87.1% survival rate, but a significant decrease in progeny production was detected. These parameters could be adjusted when rearing T. japonicus for specific aims such as the production of individuals for field release or colony maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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15 pages, 1045 KiB  
Article
Topical Application of Synthetic Hormones Terminated Reproductive Diapause of a Univoltine Weed Biological Control Agent
by Ikju Park and Lincoln Smith
Insects 2021, 12(9), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12090834 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2049
Abstract
Classical biological control is an important method for controlling invasive alien weeds. Univoltine insects can be highly effective biological control agents of annual weeds because they are well synchronized with their host plant. However, having only one generation per year makes it difficult [...] Read more.
Classical biological control is an important method for controlling invasive alien weeds. Univoltine insects can be highly effective biological control agents of annual weeds because they are well synchronized with their host plant. However, having only one generation per year makes it difficult and slow to multiply them in the laboratory for initial field releases. If it were possible to terminate reproductive diapause early, then we could rear multiple generations per year, which would greatly increase annual production. We used a recently approved biocontrol agent, Ceratapion basicorne (a univoltine weevil), for yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) as a model system to study the use of two insect hormones, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and methoprene, to terminate reproductive diapause. Methoprene (1 μg applied topically) terminated reproductive diapause of female weevils, whereas doses of 0.0, 0.01 and 0.1 μg did not. The combination of methoprene and 20E had a stronger effect and induced an increase in eggs (1.51 ± 0.16 eggs/day, mean ± SE) compared with a methoprene only group (1.00 ± 0.13 eggs/day), and a control group (0.21 ± 0.04 eggs/day). Thus, topical application of these hormones should enable us to rear the weevil out of its normal season and produce more than one generation per year, which will increase productivity of mass-rearing it for field release. Once released in the field, the insect would continue as a univoltine agent that is well-synchronized with its host plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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15 pages, 3008 KiB  
Article
Advances in Mass Rearing Pseudophilothrips ichini (Hood) (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae), a Biological Control Agent for Brazilian Peppertree in Florida
by Dale A. Halbritter, Min B. Rayamajhi, Gregory S. Wheeler, Jorge G. Leidi, Jenna R. Owens and Carly A. Cogan
Insects 2021, 12(9), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12090790 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2615
Abstract
Pseudophilothrips ichini is a recently approved biological control agent for the highly invasive Brazilian peppertree in Florida, USA. Prior to approval for field release in 2019, thrips colonies used for host specificity testing were produced and maintained in small cylinders to fit in [...] Read more.
Pseudophilothrips ichini is a recently approved biological control agent for the highly invasive Brazilian peppertree in Florida, USA. Prior to approval for field release in 2019, thrips colonies used for host specificity testing were produced and maintained in small cylinders to fit in restricted quarantine spaces. This next segment in the classical biological control pipeline is mass production and distribution of P. ichini. To accomplish this, we developed novel techniques to expand from small colony maintenance to large-scale production. We first quantified the productivity of the small cylinders, each containing a 3.8 L potted plant and producing an average of 368 thrips per generation. Given the amount of maintenance the cylinders required, we investigated larger cages to see if greater numbers of thrips could be produced with less effort. Acrylic boxes (81.5 × 39.5 × 39.5 cm) each contained two 3.8 L plants and produced an average of 679 thrips per generation. The final advancement was large, thrips-proof Lumite® screen cages (1.8 × 1.8 × 1.8 m) that each held six plants in 11.4 L pots and produced 13,864 thrips in as little as 5 wk. Screen cages and cylinders had the greatest thrips fold production, but screen cages required ten times less labor per thrips compared to either cylinders or boxes. The efficiency of these large screen cages ensured sustained mass production and field release capacity in Schinus-infested landscapes. The screen cage method is adapted and used by collaborators, and this will expand the literature on beneficial thrips mass rearing methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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7 pages, 254 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Artemia franciscana Cysts to Improve Diets for Mass Rearing Stethorus gilvifrons, a Predator of Tetranychus turkestani
by Jafar Ebrahimifar, Parviz Shishehbor, Arash Rasekh, Seyed Ali Hemmati and Eric W. Riddick
Insects 2021, 12(7), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12070632 - 13 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2122
Abstract
Stethorus gilvifrons is an acarophagous coccinellid distributed in the Mediterranean region and could potentially be mass-reared for the augmentative biological control of Tetranychus turkestani and related species on crop plants. The hypothesis that brine shrimp Artemia franciscana cysts can improve diets for [...] Read more.
Stethorus gilvifrons is an acarophagous coccinellid distributed in the Mediterranean region and could potentially be mass-reared for the augmentative biological control of Tetranychus turkestani and related species on crop plants. The hypothesis that brine shrimp Artemia franciscana cysts can improve diets for rearing of S. gilvifrons was tested in laboratory experiments. The diet treatments included A. franciscana cysts (D1), A. franciscana cysts plus a vitamin B complex (D2), A. franciscana cysts plus date palm pollen (D3), and A. franciscana cysts plus date palm pollen and Ephestia kuehniella eggs (D4). The results indicated that D1 did not support immature development. D2 supported egg–larval development but not pupal–adult development. Both D3 and D4 supported development to the adult stage and reproduction. However, D4 was the most effective diet, determined by observations of S. gilvifrons oviposition behavior and fecundity. A life table analysis corroborated these results; an intrinsic rate of increase, net and gross reproductive rates, and mean generation time were best for S. gilvifrons fed D4 rather than D3. A mixed diet composed of A. franciscana cysts, date palm pollen, and E. kuehniella eggs can be used to mass rear S. gilvifrons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)

Review

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18 pages, 2360 KiB  
Review
Insect Rearing Techniques for Biological Control Programs, a Component of Sustainable Agriculture in Brazil
by José Roberto Postali Parra and Aloisio Coelho, Jr.
Insects 2022, 13(1), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010105 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 13293
Abstract
This article describes the importance of rearing insects, whether on a small scale for research or a large scale for mass rearing, for use in biological control (BC) programs with macro-organisms. These inter- or multidisciplinary research programs are necessarily long-term and depend on [...] Read more.
This article describes the importance of rearing insects, whether on a small scale for research or a large scale for mass rearing, for use in biological control (BC) programs with macro-organisms. These inter- or multidisciplinary research programs are necessarily long-term and depend on rearing techniques for their complete development. Some successful examples of BC in Brazil are presented, including case studies of Trichogramma spp. These required broad bioecological studies that provided the basis for both mass rearing and transfer of the necessary technology to farmers. This has allowed Brazil to occupy a leadership position in biological control in “Open Fields”. For example, about three million ha are being treated with Trichogramma galloi (a native parasitoid), and about three and a half million ha with Cotesia flavipes (an exotic parasitoid) to control Diatraea saccharalis, the sugarcane borer. These natural enemies are produced by commercial firms, or by laboratories in sugar and alcohol plants themselves, in the case of C. flavipes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rearing Techniques for Biocontrol Agents of Insects, Mites, and Weeds)
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