Sydney NSW, Australia
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Below ground efficiency of a parasitic wasp for Drosophila suzukii biocontrol in different soil types



The parasitoid wasp Trichopria drosophilae is promising as a biocontrol agent for controlling the ubiquitous pest Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura). Crucial for the successful implementation of any biocontrol agent is a high parasitisation rate by the parasitoid. Most studies investigating the parasitisation rate of D. suzukii pupae have focused on parasitisation in the fruit or in a petri dish. However, the predominant pupation site of D. suzukii in the field is the soil. Unfortunately, little is known on how well parasitoid wasps can detect and parasitise pupae of D. suzukii buried in the soil. Therefore, we conducted soil parasitisation experiments of T. drosophilae on D. suzukii pupae using two pupation depths in three different soil types (loamy sand, loam, and clay). In all three soil types, we found generally low D. suzukii pupae parasitisation rate by T. drosophilae, independent of the pupation depth. The pupation behaviour of D. suzukii and the parasitisation behaviour of T. drosophilae are discussed in detail. For pest control in most soil types, our results mean that the number of D. suzukii larvae pupating in the soil should be reduced, e.g., by adding a layer of sandy soil or covering the soil with plastic mulch. This might increase the probability of success when using T. drosophilae as a biocontrol agent.

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