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Mass‐rearing optimization of the parasitoid Psyttalia lounsburyi for biological control of the olive fruit fly

Chardonnet, Floriane, Blanchet, Arnaud, Hurtrel, Beatrice, Marini, Francesca, Smith, Lincoln
Journal of applied entomology 2019 v.143 no.3 pp. 277-288
Bactrocera oleae, Ceratitis capitata, Psyttalia, adults, biological control, females, larvae, mass rearing, multivoltine habit, olives, oviposition, parasitoids, progeny, sex ratio, Africa, California, Mediterranean region
The olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Tephritidae), is a direct pest of olives that has invaded the Mediterranean Region and California. Psyttalia lounsburyi (Braconidae), a larval parasitoid from Africa, has been approved for release in the USA as a classical biological agent. However, it has been difficult to rear the parasitoid in the laboratory because it is multivoltine, and the host develops only in fresh olives, which are not available for most of the year. A method to rear the parasitoid on the factitious host, Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) was developed, but it was not very efficient for producing large numbers of parasitoids needed for release. We developed a number of ways to improve the efficiency of rearing, including the frequency and duration of exposure for oviposition, optimizing the density of adult parasitoids, host age, as well as methods to quickly standardize the number of larvae exposed and to count emerging adult parasitoids. We significantly improved the number of progeny produced per female and the sex ratio of progeny. Thanks to these improvements, we produced in 2017 over 119,000 adults and shipped over 53,900 for release in California.