Title: Production of heteropteran predators Authors
Submitted to: Elsevier
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 3, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Predatory bugs are important natural enemies of insects that destroy our crop plants. There is a need to develop sustainable technologies to produce these natural enemies on a commercial scale to support the practice of biological control. In this book chapter, we critically review the published information on mass production of predatory bugs on a global scale. Only several predatory bugs are commercially available for biological control of pests. Many opportunities still exist to increase the availability and cost-effectiveness of these predators perhaps through development of artificial diets and substrates that maximize their growth, development, and reproduction. Increasing our knowledge of genetics, developmental and reproductive biology could stimulate more technological advances in the mass production of predatory bugs.
Technical Abstract: This chapter treats several key aspects of rearing procedures for predatory bugs. The value of natural, factitious, and artificial foods for the major species used in biological control is reviewed. Whereas several types of factitious foods are routinely used in the production of heteropteran predators, the adoption of artificial diets in mass production systems has remained negligible. Special attention is given to the implications of zoophytophagy for the production of predatory bugs. The use of plants and plant materials as sources of water and supplementary nutrients, and as living and oviposition substrates is discussed, as well as the potential of alternative substrates. The impact of crowding and cannibalism and of the presence of micro-organisms on the performance of rearing systems is also addressed. Although important gaps in our ability to produce heteropteran predators are identified, equally important is that production will clearly benefit from new technologies that are rapidly expanding our knowledge of genetics, and developmental and reproductive biology.