Studies on the ecology of European Peristenus spp. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and their potential for the biological control of Lygus spp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) in Canada
In Canada, native plant bugs of the genus Lygus (Heteroptera: Miridae) are serious pests of a wide variety of agricultural crops. Lygus spp. outbreaks in western Canada have renewed interest in introducing European Lygus parasitoids. The intention of this thesis was to provide information on the host specificity of Lygus parasitoids belonging to the genus Peristenus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), in an effort to assess potential risks for introducing these European parasitoids as biological control agents of native Lygus species in Canada. Investigations were made on the distribution, seasonal abundance and synchronization of Lygus spp. and their associated nymphal parasitoids, P. stygicus and P. digoneutis. In addition, the physiological host range of the parasitoids was defined. The results were compared with data on the ecological host range of the parasitoids, obtained from field studies in Schleswig-Holstein. In addition, lifetime fecundity and cold-hardiness of the parasitoids were studied to guide the choice of parasitoid species for possible introduction.
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