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A culture method for darkling beetles, Blapstinus spp. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)
- Zilkowski, Bruce W., Cosse, Allard A.
- Journal of economic entomology 2015 v.108 no.3 pp. 1010-1013
- Alphitobius diaperinus, Cucurbitaceae, adults, apples, crops, diet, feeds, in vitro culture, insect pests, insect rearing, laboratory experimentation, pupae, sex determination analysis, zucchini, California
- Darkling beetles, Blapstinus spp., have become a serious pest of Cucurbitaceae crops, especially in California. A culture method was sought to provide large numbers (> 500) of adult beetles of known age and sex that could be used for laboratory testing when needed. A method previously developed for Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) using a diet of ground chick feed, with apple slices as a moisture source, was modified for use with Blapstinus spp. and then compared to the same method substituting zucchini as the moisture source. Rearing boxes set-up with apple slices produced significantly more pupae and adults then the boxes containing zucchini slices. However, using either zucchini or apples as a moisture source, yielded over the target of 500 adults per rearing box. A previous method designed to sex A. diaperinus based on the presence (') or absence (') of second valvifers in the pupal stage also proved effective for sexing the Blapstinus spp.