Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/6/2011
Publication Date: 6/13/2011
Citation: Xiao, Y., Chen, J., Cantliffe, D., McKenzie, C.L., Houben, K., Osborne, L. 2011. Establishment of papaya banker plant system for Parasitoid, Encarsia sophia (Hymenoptera: Aphilidae) against Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) in greenhouse tomato production. Biological Control. 58:239-247. doi: 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2011.06.004. Interpretive Summary: Insecticides are the most common method used for controlling the silverleaf whitefly; however, intensive use of insecticides has resulted in reduced insecticidal susceptibility of this key pest of vegetable and ornamental crops. With the increasing awareness of sustainable farming, management of silverleaf whitefly through biological control has gained popularity over the last decade. One biological control option is a banker plant system which consists of a plant that directly or indirectly provides resources, such as food or prey, to natural enemies that are deliberately released within a cropping system with the goal of providing preventative, long-term suppression of arthropod pests. In this study we explore the potential of a non-crop banker plant system that employs a parasitoid with a non-pest whitefly as an alternative host for rearing and dispersal of the parasitoid to the silverleaf whitefly. We found this novel banker plant system has good potential for management of silverleaf whitefly in tomato greenhouse production using papaya as a non-crop banker plant particularly preferred by the non-pest whitefly as an alternative host of the parasite. Ongoing studies on the papaya banker plant system are being performed in commercial greenhouses.
Technical Abstract: The silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia tabaci biotype B (Gennadius) (Hemiptera:Aleyrodidae), is a key pest of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and other vegetable crops worldwide. To combat this pest, a non-crop banker plant system was evaluated that employs a parasitoid, Encarsia sophia (Girault & Dodd) (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) with a non-pest whitefly, Trialeurodes variabilis (Quaintance) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) as an alternative host for rearing and dispersal of the parasitoid to the target pest. Multi-choice and no-choice greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine host specificity of the non pest whitefly to papaya (Carica papaya L.) and three vegetable crops including tomato, green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and cabbage (Brassica oleracea L.). Results showed that papaya was an excellent non-crop banker plant for supporting the non-pest alternative host, T. variablis, whose adults had a strong preference or specificity for papaya plants for feeding and oviposition in both multi-choice and no-choice tests. The dispersal ability of E. sophia was investigated from papaya banker plants to target tomato and green bean plants infested with B. tabaci, as well as to target papaya plants (control) infested with T. variabilis. The percent parasitism of E. sophia to T. variabilis reared on papaya plants and to B. tabaci infested on tomato plants was also evaluated. Our data proved that E. sophia was able to disperse at least 14.5 m away from papaya plants to target tomato, bean or the papaya plants (control) within 48 to 96 h. Furthermore, E. sophia was a strong parasitoid of both T. variabilis and B. tabaci. There was no significant difference in percent parasitism of E. sophia to T. variabilis (36.2 to 47.4%) infested papaya plants or B. tabaci (29 to 45.9%) infested tomato plants. A novel banker plant system for the potential management of B. tabaci was developed using papaya as a non-crop banker plant particularly preferred by T. variabilis, an alternative host of E. sophia which is also a natural enemy of B. tabaci. Ongoing studies on the papaya banker plant system are being performed in commercial greenhouses.