Diets for Tamarixia triozae adults before releasing in augmentative biological control.
The effectiveness of augmentative biological control using parasitoids often depends on their physiological state and the pest population density at the time of release. Tamarixia triozae (Burks) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) is a primary host-feeding parasitoid of a serious invasive pest Bactericera cockerelli (Šulc) (Hemiptera: Triozidae). Here we investigated the effects of adult diets (honey, water, yeast, and hosts) and timing of their provision on T. triozae fitness and oviposition patterns, providing knowledge for enhancement of its biological control potential. Adults fed with honey for four days with no access to hosts or with water or yeast for one day followed by host feeding for three days had similar longevity and lifetime pest killing ability. Adults fed with only water for one day before release had significantly greater intrinsic rate of increase, shorter doubling time, and higher daily fecundity peak. Adults fed with honey or yeast for one day followed by host feeding for three days significantly flattened their daily oviposition curves. These findings have several implications for augmentative biological control using T. triozae. First, honey diet may allow at least four days for successful shipment of host-deprived adults without compromising biological control effectiveness. Second, the release of host-deprived adults with one-day water feeding may achieve rapid pest suppression when the pest population density is high. Finally, releasing host-deprived adults with one-day honey or yeast feeding followed by three-day host feeding can increase their establishment success and reduce the risk of massive removal of hosts when the pest population density is low.