Biological control of the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella: a review.
The diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), is one of the most destructive cosmopolitan insect pests of brassicaceous crops. It was the first crop insect reported to be resistant to DDT and now, in many crucifer producing regions, it has shown significant resistance to almost every synthetic insecticide applied in the field. In certain parts of the world, economical production of crucifers has become almost impossible due to insecticidal control failures. Consequently, increased efforts worldwide have been undertaken to develop integrated pest management (IPM) programs, principally based on manipulation of its natural enemies. Although over 130 parasitoid species are known to attack various life stages of DBM, most control worldwide is achieved by relatively few hymenopteran species belonging to the ichneumonid genera Diadegma and Diadromus, the braconid genera Microplitis and Cotesia, and the eulophid genus Oomyzus. DBM populations native to different regions have genetic and biological differences, and specific parasitoid strains may be associated with the specific DBM strains. Therefore, accurate identification based on genetic studies of both host and parasitoid is of crucial importance to attaining successful control of DBM through inoculative or inundative releases. Although parasitoids of DBM larvae and pupae are currently its principal regulators, bacteria-derived products (e.g., crystal toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis) and myco-insecticides principally based on Zoophthora radicans and Beauveria bassiana are increasingly being applied or investigated for biological control. Viruses, nematodes and microsporidia also have potential as biopesticides for DBM. When an insect pest is exposed to more than one mortality factor, there is the possibility of interactions that can enhance, limit, or limit and enhance the various aspects of effectiveness of a particular control tactic. This paper reviews the effectiveness of various parasitoids and entomopathogens against DBM, interactions among them, and their possible integration into modern IPM programs.