|MEHMOOD, RIAZ - Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI)|
|BAJWA, BABAR - Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI)|
|RASHID, KHALID - Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI)|
Submitted to: Journal of Entomological Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2014
Publication Date: 4/1/2015
Citation: Mehmood, R., Jones, W.A., Bajwa, B.E., Rashid, K. 2015. Egg Parasitoids from Pakistan as possible classical biological control agents of the invasive pest, Bagrada hilaris (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae). Journal of Entomological Science. 50(2):147-149.
Interpretive Summary: A new pest stink bug of exotic origin, the painted bug, was discovered in southern California in 2008 and threatens the very large cole crop industry across the entire U.S. But if an international collaboration is successful, its spread and impact could be significantly halted. It has already caused vegetable farmers to regularly spray insecticides on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and other cole crops in California and at the commercial vegetable growing area around Yuma, AZ. It is also a pest of canola and certain ornamentals. A project was initiated between ARS researchers in Mississippi and France with collaborators in Pakistan to survey for key natural enemies there, where the bug is only a sporadic pest due to the natural enemies that evolved with the insect. It arrived in the U.S. without any of these unique natural enemies. But in 2014, Pakistani cooperators discovered three tiny parasitic wasps attacking the painted bug's eggs that are related to the egg parasites that normally keep our native stink bugs from being pests. The stingless wasps were shipped to the USDA-ARS Stoneville Research Quarantine Facility, Stoneville, MS, for testing to see if they are likely to kill our native stink bugs, some of which are beneficial. If eventually approved for release and they become established, painted bug populations should be significantly reduced without spending additional money and with much reduced insecticide usage.
Technical Abstract: The newly invasive pest stink bug, Bagrada hilaris, threatens the cole crop industry and certain ornamentals in the U.S. Without its co-evolved natural enemies, it is likely to spread from the Southwest U.S. to the east coast, requiring millions more dollars to control it. If key biological control agents in its geographic area of origin can be identified and evaluated, release and establishment could significantly reduce damaging populations while also slowing down their spread. A collaborative effort between USDA-ARS scientists and personnel with the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International, Central and West Asia, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, was initiated in 2014. The purpose was to survey infested areas in Pakistan for key parasitoids of the egg stage. The survey led to the successful collection of three species of egg parasitoids within three different genera of Hymenoptera within: Gryon sp., sp. and Trissolcus sp. (Platygastridae) and an Ooencyrtus sp. (Encyrtidae). The parasitoids were shipped to the USDA-ARS Stoneville Research Quarantine Facility, Stoneville, MS, for biology and behavior studies and to begin host specificity screening using native pentatomids and their relatives. If approved for release and they become established, B. hilaris populations should be significantly reduced without further funding, with much reduced insecticide usage.