Mass Production of Trichogrammatid Parasitoids

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Abstract

The members of Trichogrammatidae (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) are amongst the minutest parasitoids; all of them are parasitic on the eggs of mostly lepidopterans. Most prominent ones are the species of Trichogramma and Trichogrammatoidea which are mostly amenable for laboratory mass production on factitious hosts like rice moth (Corcyra cephalonica Stn.), paddy moth (Sitotroga cerealella (Olivier)), and the flour moth (Ephestia spp.) which themselves are mass produced on factory scales and are being used for biological control of noxious lepidopterous pests of crops worldwide. The parasitoid selected for mass production must usually have high intrinsic rate of natural increase with short life cycle. Problems encountered in mass production of hosts are the larval and pupal parasitoids and predators getting into the cultures, taking heavy toll of the host individuals. This chapter describes the protocols followed for production of host insects and trichogrammatids in India and in other countries like China and Russia. Information is also provided on how problems like development of lab ecotypes, contamination and superparasitism could be alleviated.