Submitted to: Annual Meeting Central States Entomological Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 27, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The use of semiochemicals by parasitic Hymenoptera to assist in finding and selecting their host(s) is now considered dogma. Recently there have been references to studies that suggest some parasitic wasps are capable of "learning." Therefore, the concept of preconditioning parasitoids prior to their release in the field in order to optimize their performance as biological control agents is tantalizing. Laboratory observations and experimental findings indicate there is merit to preconditioning efforts. It is feasible that specific lists of conditioning techniques could be developed to achieve desired results. The concept remains to be proven for different species and in various field conditions. Preconditioning tests with the parasitoid/host/plant system of Euplectrus comstockii/Trichoplusia ni/cabbage have been initiated. Several qualities of the ectoparasitoid/lepidopteran larvae/cole crop system make it a convenient model for these studies. In contrast to observations made in laboratory rearing situations, our preliminary results indicate little immediate benefit to preconditioning efforts for this parasitoid when used in field releases on cabbage.