Application of nuclear techniques for the improvement of mass rearing of parasitoids for implementing biological control of pests
Abstract: Habrobracon hebetor is a gregarious ectoparasitoid that attacks the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera. The use of gamma irradiated lepidopteran host larvae at the dose of 150 Gy proved useful for enhancing the parasitism and adult emergence of H. hebetor due to the absence of negative repercussions on its development. Parasitism increased as the larvae were irradiated with higher doses, since higher parasitism was recorded at 150 and 300 Gy compared to lower doses. Female parasitoids preferred irradiated larvae and significantly higher numbers of larvae were parasitized compared with non‐irradiated larvae. Irradiated larvae of Galleria mellonella served better as hosts for H. hebetor than irradiated larvae of Plodia interpunctella. The implementation of nuclear techniques would be helpful for improving the mass production of parasitoids and the effectiveness of releases of biocontrol agents for the control of stored product pests.