DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvae002 ISSN: 0046-225X

Floral resources enhance fitness of the parasitoid Hadronotus pennsylvanicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) but not biological control of its host Leptoglossus zonatus (Heteroptera: Coreidae)

Robert K Straser, Kent M Daane, Judith M Stahl, Houston Wilson
  • Insect Science
  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


The diet of adult parasitoid wasps is vital for their survival and reproduction. However, the availability of food resources, such as plant nectar, can vary widely in cropping systems, potentially affecting parasitoid fitness and thereby biological control of pests. The egg parasitoid Hadronotus pennsylvanicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) is a potential biological control agent of the pistachio pest Leptoglossus zonatus (Dallas) (Heteroptera: Coreidae). While H. pennsylvanicus is known to attack L. zonatus eggs in California, USA, parasitism rates in orchards are highly variable. Floral resource provisioning has the potential to enhance parasitoid longevity and thus improve parasitism rates, leading to reduced pest densities. Here, a combination of field and laboratory studies was used to assess the influence of flowering groundcovers on the reproductive fitness of H. pennsylvanicus and the abundance of L. zonatus. Evaluated groundcovers included oat (Avena sativa L.), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.), white mustard (Sinapis alba L.), and buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench). Under laboratory conditions, buckwheat and mustard provided the greatest benefit to female H. pennsylvanicus longevity. However, females provided a buckwheat diet produced the greatest number of offspring over the course of their lifetime. In field trials, flowering groundcovers did not influence the abundance of H. pennsylvanicus nor parasitism rates on L. zonatus. While the availability of floral resources can improve the reproductive fitness of H. pennsylvanicus, the use of groundcovers in pistachio did not enhance biological control of L. zonatus.

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