Biological control of the sugarcane stem borer Diatraea spp. (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Costa Rica.
Work carried out in Costa Rica between 1984 and 1991 on the biological control of Diatraea spp. is summarized. The control programme was initiated with the braconid Cotesia flavipes and the tachinids Paratheresia claripalpis, Metagonistylum minense and Lixophaga diatraea. Subsequently work continued with C. flavipes which proved to be better adapted to the field conditions and easier to manage in the laboratory. D. tabernella, D. saccharalis and D. guatemalella are all present in Costa Rica, with D. tabernella having the widest distribution. Laboratory rearing was carried out with D. saccharalis. Methods used for evaluating pest damage in sugarcane and percentage parasitism in the field are described. A cost-benefit analysis of the programme is also presented. Data on parasitoid liberations, percentage parasitism and infestation levels in different regions are included.