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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Biological Control of Pests Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #220254

Title: Benefits and Limitations of factitious prey and artificial diets on life parameters of predatory beetles, bugs, and lacewings: A mini-review

item Riddick, Eric

Submitted to: BioControl
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/9/2008
Publication Date: 5/9/2008
Citation: Riddick, E.W. 2008. Benefits and Limitations of factitious prey and artificial diets on life parameters of predatory beetles, bugs, and lacewings: A mini-review. BioControl. 54(3):325-339.

Interpretive Summary: This review addresses recent advances in rearing of predatory insects. The benefits of using unnatural prey or artificial diets to rear predatory beetles, true bugs, and lacewings were assessed and compared. This research of peer-reviewed literature will facilitate more opportunities for cost-effective rearing of predators on artificial diets. This manuscript should be of use to biocontrol practitioners and others concerned with cost-effective mass rearing of natural enemies for control of insect pests on plants in greenhouses and interiorscapes.

Technical Abstract: The primary, peer-reviewed literature, published from 1998-2007, pertaining to rearing of predatory beetles, true bugs and lacewings was reviewed and synthesized. Advances in rearing were revealed in relation to the influence of factitious prey and artificial diets on predator life parameters. Eggs of the Angoumois grain moth and Mediterranean flour moth were factitious prey that supported the development and reproduction of many species in lieu of natural prey. Artificial diets based on vertebrate protein were generally inferior to factitious prey for production of predators. A few exceptional cases demonstrated potential for continuous rearing of true bugs and lacewings on artificial diet, as a stand-alone food source. Factors that could ensure progressive rearing success might involve (1) exploiting the highly polyphagous nature of certain species, (2) exposing predators to artificial diet for multiple generations to incite adaptation, (3) formulating artificial diets to match the texture and composition of preferred natural prey, and (4) encasing the diet within Parafilm® to resemble the shape of natural prey. Encasement may also reduce desiccation and retard spoilage of the diet. Identification of other factitious prey and development of artificial diets that ensure production of predators of high quality should be possible. This review was conducted, for the most part, in support of generalist insect predators used, or having the potential to be used, in augmentative biological control of pests on plants in semi-closed systems, such as greenhouses and interiorscapes.