Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Field-cage evaluation of survival, reproduction, and feeding behavior of adult Scymnus coniferarum (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), a predator of Adelges tsugae (Hemiptera: Adelgidae).

Abstract

The hemlock woolly adelgid, Adelges tsugae Annand, is an invasive pest of eastern (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carrie re) and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana Engelmann) forests in the eastern United States. Scymnus (Pullus) coniferarum Crotch (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is a lady beetle that preys on A. tsugae in the western United States, where A. tsugae infestations on western hemlocks are not lethal. It is thought that S. coniferarum could be an important predator that helps keep A. tsugae populations from reaching damaging levels in this region. This study assesses the potential of this predator as a biological control agent for A. tsugae in the eastern United States. S. coniferarum predation, reproductive potential, and survival were evaluated in field-cages on adelgid-infested T. canadensis at two sites in southwestern Virginia. Sampling was conducted between December 2012 and June 2014 to evaluate the impact of S. coniferarum on both generations of A. tsuage (sistens and progrediens). Adult S. coniferarum fed on both generations and all life stages of A. tsugae during both field trials at rates comparable to other adelgid-specific predators. Evidence of S. coniferarum oviposition was minimal, and may be attributed to low temperatures and prey availability. S. coniferarum mortality was greatest when exposed to winter temperatures at the higher elevation site in 2013, and least throughout the 2014 spring sample period. S. coniferarum demonstrated a high predation rate on A. tsugae and survived for extended periods of time at sites in southwest Virginia, indicating that this species could be an effective predator of hemlock woolly adelgid in similar climates.