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Assessing and Augmenting Biological Control of the Tarnished Plant Bug in New York Strawberries 1997

Project Leaders: Mike Hoffmann and Kelley Tilmon

Objectives:

1. Determine if the parasitoid Peristenus digoneutis will attack Lygus in strawberry plantings, and to what extent.

2. Determine if an alfalfa companion crop will encourage parasitoid attack of Lygus in strawberry plantings.

3. Evaluate P. digoneutis activity in other established fruit and vegetable crops.

Results:

The field season of 1997 was a set-up year in a several-year project to investigate the degree to which P. digoneutis may parasitize tarnished plant bug in strawberry, with and without an alfalfa companion crop. In addition, a survey of tarnished plant bug parasitism in established New York strawberries was conducted to determine levels of parasitism already occurring in June varieties. Data collection in the field experiment will not begin until spring of 1998. However, observations indicate that both the tarnished plant bug (Lygus) and P. digoneutis populations are established in the field cages. A laboratory assay is being developed that can be used to determine the proportion of parasitized tarnished plant bug nymphs in a sample and also the parasitoid species present in the sample.