|Lauziere, Isabelle - TX EXP STN, TEXAS A&M|
|Legaspi, JR., Benjamin - TX EXP STN, TEXAS A&M|
|Saldana, Robert - TX EXP STN, TEXAS A&M|
Submitted to: Subtropical Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2001
Publication Date: December 1, 2001
Citation: Lauziere, I., Legaspi, J.C., Legaspi, Jr., B.C., Saldana, R. 2001. FIELD RELEASE OF LYDELLA JALISCO WOODLEY (DIPTERA: TACHINIDAE) IN SUGARCANE AND OTHER GRAMINEOUS CROPS FOR BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF EOREUMA LOFTINI (DYAR) (LEPIDOPTERA: PYRALIDAE) IN TEXAS. Subtropical Plant Science. 53:34-49. Interpretive Summary: The most important pest of Texas sugarcane is the Mexican Rice Borer, a moth that invaded from Mexico in the early 1980s. The sugarcane industry in south Texas is found in the economically depressed Lower Rio Grande Valley and grosses about $65 million. The borer spends much of its life inside the sugarcane stalk where it is protected from insecticides. Farmers in Texas have abandoned insecticides and accept the loss of $10 to $20 million yearly caused by the borer. The borer also damages important crops such as corn, rice and sorghum which are threatened by the northward movement of the borer up the coastal bend of Texas. As part of a program to study insect controls other than insecticides, scientists now at the Center for Biological Control at Tallahassee, Florida tested the Jalisco fly as a biological control agent on several host plants. The fly was collected from Mexico where it survives naturally on the rice borer which is not an important pest. Fly maggots crawl inside the stalk in tunnels made by the borer to find the pest. The immature fly then develops as a parasite inside the borer, thus killing it. We conducted field cage experiments to study the effectiveness of the fly as a parasite on sugarcane, rice, corn and sorghum. The different crops were grown in the field and covered with large screened field cages. Borers were allowed to infest the different crops, and the flies were released inside the cages. We found less than 7% of the borers were parasitized, which is attributed to severe drought and heat in that summer. Field sampling in the fields of local farmers revealed that other parasite species may have been more effective under these conditions.