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International Journal of Entomology and Nematology

Biological Control to Maintain Natural Densities of Insects and Mites by Field Releases of Lady Beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)

Muhammad Sarwar

Department of Entomology, Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Tarnab, Peshawar, Pakistan.

E-mail: drmsarwar64@yahoo.com

Accepted 27 April, 2016

Citation: Sarwar M (2016). Biological Control to Maintain Natural Densities of Insects and Mites by Field Releases of Lady Beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). International Journal of Entomology and Nematology, 2(1): 021-026.

Copyright: © 2016 Sarwar M. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Abstract

In the present study, the biological control of insects and mites to maintain their natural densities by field releases of lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) is analyzed. Female lady beetles may lay from 20 to more than 1000 eggs over a one to three month period, near prey such as aphids in protected sites on leaves and stems. Lady beetles have hefty appetites and one tiny alligator like larva can eat over two dozen aphids a day, and single adult can eat over twice of that much. In other words, one larva will eat about 400 medium-size aphids during its development to pupal stage and an adult lady beetle may eat over 5,000 aphids during its lifetime (about a year). Usually, reddish-orange lady beetles eat aphids, and darker ones more often eat spider mites, whiteflies and scale insects. The best time to release lady beetles into garden is late in afternoon or at sundown, which can encourage them to stay for night and find suitable food and protection. Dampen the ground or plants before releasing of lady beetles, can encourage them to stay and drink water. About 1000 lady beetles can rid an acre of ground from most of soft-bodied pests and release beetles at base of plants at 20 feet apart or more so that they can hunt for food. Ability of collected lady beetles to reproduce is suspended (reproductive diapause), so eggs are not produced for several weeks after release. Pre-fed lady beetles prior to release can allow some eggs maturation, but few researchers or companies also provide such pre-conditioned lady beetles. The trends of prey devouring demonstrate profound effects that lady beetle may have on target and non-target pests, and highlight their importance for initiating of biological control programs.

Keywords: Biological control agents, Biological invasion, Coccinellidae, Exotic species, Natural enemies, Predators

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