Parasitic wasp, Eretmocerus eremicus for Whitefly Control

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Eretmocerus eremicus are tiny (1 mm long) parasitic wasps that are mainly parasitic to whiteflies. These wasps are generally sold as parasitized pupae that can be easily released in the field for the control of whiteflies

Facts (show all)

- Effective against the following pests
  • The banded winged whitefly, Trialeurodes abuttnea
  • The Greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurods vaporarium
  • The silver leaf whitefly, Bemicia argentifolii
  • The sweet potato whitefly, Bemicia tabaci
+ Key factors for Eretmocerus eremicus effectiveness
  • Eretmocerus eremicus are tiny parasitic wasps measuring about 1 mm in length and mainly parasitic to whiteflies.
  • Female parasitic wasps are yellowish in color with clubbed antennae whereas males are yellowish brown in color with elbowed antennae.
  • As parasitic Eretmocerus eremicus wasps are warm adapted species, they work better against whiteflies when temperature is between 25 and 30°C.
  • These wasps are generally sold as parasitized pupae that can be easily released in the field for the control of whiteflies
+ How parasitic Eretmocerus eremicus wasps work in the field
  1. When parasitic Eretmocerus eremicus wasps released either in the fields or greenhouses, their females lay eggs underneath the immature stages (nymphs) of whiteflies that is in between the leaf surface and the nymphs.
  2. Depending on the temperature, hatching of eggs takes place within 4 days.
  3. These hatched larvae generally develop both as external and internal parasites.
  4. As an external parasite, these young wasp larvae generally attach to the underside the nymph’s body with the hook-like mouth parts. Then they enter into nymph’s body by chewing a small hole and become as an internal parasite.
  5. Once inside the whitefly nymph, these wasp larvae become and remain dormant until whitefly nymphs form pupae.
  6. Once pupae are formed, wasp larvae then become active and begin releasing digestive enzymes that helps to liquefy body content of whitefly pupa.
  7. Then the wasp larvae start feeding on the liquefied body content and eventually kill the pupae of whiteflies.
  8. While feeding inside the whitefly pupa, wasp larvae develop through three developmental stages (instars) for 12-15 days and emerge as adults.
  9. These emerged adult wasps mate and females start laying eggs as stated above and life cycle continues.
+ Which stages of whitefly are parasitized by parasitic wasp Eretmocerus eremicus?
  • Second stage whitefly larvae
  • Pupae of whiteflies
+ How many Eretmocerus eremicus wasps should be released?
  • Eretmocerus eremicus wasps are commercially available as parasitized whitefly pupae.
  • It is recommended to release three Eretmocerus eremicus parasitized whitefly pupae per plant infested with whiteflies every week for 4 weeks.
+ When Eretmocerus eremicus wasps should be released for the effective control of whiteflies?
  • Parasitic Eretmocerus eremicus wasps should be released when there is a presence of whiteflies on the plants.
  • Release them early in the morning or evening when day light level and temperature low.
  • As parasitic Eretmocerus eremicus wasps are warm adapted species, they work better against whiteflies when temperature is between 25 and 30°C.
+ How Eretmocerus eremicus wasps should be released for effective control of whiteflies?
  • Release these wasps within 18 hours of receipt but if you are not ready to release them then store them at cool place (at 45-50°F).
  • When you receive product in bottles, make sure that the pupae are evenly distributed in the carrier material.
  • In order to do this, lay bottle on its side and rotate it so that material will be mixed evenly.
  • Open the bottle in whitefly infested area and sprinkle the carrier material and wasp pupae onto the leaves, on the surface of growing media or in the pots.
  • If you receive product in the blisters, open the blisters and hang on the leaf petiole or branches in a shaded area where wasps will emerge from these blisters and look for appropriate place to lay eggs.
+ Why you need them
  • they can reduce the crop damage by feeding on pupae of whiteflies
  • they can parasitize young larvae whiteflies
  • they are able to actively search for their host nymphs (larvae), parasitize them and feed on their pupae
  • they can reproduce and continue their life cycle in the garden after first application
  • they are commercially available and easy to release in the greenhouses or fields
+ Why they are safer than traditional pesticides
  • they do not damage plants
  • do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production and application
  • food products are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with wasps
  • they do not harm humans, animals and pollute the environment
+ Research Papers
  1. Bellamy, D.E., Asplen, M.K. and Byrne, D.N. 2004. Impact of Eretmocerus eremicus (Hymenoptera : Aphelinidae) on open-field Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera : Aleyrodidae) populations. Biological Control 29: 227-234.
  2. Hoddle, M.S., Sanderson, J.P. and Van Driesche, R.G. 1999. Biological control of Bemisia argentifolii (Hemiptera : Aleyrodidae) on poinsettia with inundative releases of Eretmocerus eremicus (Hymenoptera : Aphelinidae): does varying the weekly release rate affect control? Bulletin of Entomological Research 89: 41-51.
  3. Hoelmer, K.A. 2007. Field cage evaluation of introduced Eretmocerus species (Hymenoptera : Aphelinidae) against Bemisia tabaci strain B (Homoptera : Aleyrodidae) on cantaloupe. Biological Control 43: 156-162.

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