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Using the egg parasitoid Anastatus bifasciatus against the invasive brown marmorated stink bug in Europe: can non-target effects be ruled out?

Stahl, JudithM., Babendreier, Dirk, Haye, Tim
Journal of pest science 2018 v.91 no.3 pp. 1005-1017
Anastatus bifasciatus, Halyomorpha halys, Lepidoptera, biological control agents, control methods, eggs, females, fruits, longevity, nontarget organisms, parasitoids, progeny, risk, risk assessment, sex ratio, tibia, vegetable crops, Europe, United States
The brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), has been causing massive damage to various fruit and vegetable crops after its arrival in the USA, and more recently in Europe. To provide an alternative control measure to pesticides, the native egg parasitoid Anastatus bifasciatus (Geoffroy) (Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae) was considered as a candidate biological control agent for inundative releases in Europe. In the risk assessment study presented here, all nine heteropteran and 14 out of 19 tested lepidopteran non-target species produced viable A. bifasciatus offspring. The proportion of A. bifasciatus females producing offspring did not differ between non-target and target for 19 out of the 28 non-target species. Larger host eggs corresponded to increased female-biased sex ratio of the offspring as well as an increase in size, particularly for females, with hind tibia lengths varying from 645.5 ± 46 to 1084 ± 28.5 μm. Larger females were also found to have higher offspring production and increased life expectancy. The results of this study confirmed the polyphagous nature of A. bifasciatus and suggest that a number of non-target species, including Lepidoptera of conservation interest, may be attacked in the field. Thus, non-target effects cannot entirely be ruled out, but more information is needed from semi-field and field studies to fully assess potential environmental risks due to inundative releases of this native parasitoid.