Can the Use of Trichogramma ostriniae (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) to Control Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) Be Economically Sustainable for Processing Sweet Corn?
Gagnon, A. È., Audette, C., Duval, B., & Boisclair, J. (2017). Can the Use of Trichogramma ostriniae (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) to Control Ostrinia nubilalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) Be Economically Sustainable for Processing Sweet Corn?. Journal of economic entomology, 110(1), 59-66. doi.org/10.1093/jee/tow293
European corn borer, Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), is the main pest causing damage to sweet corn in North America. Conventional management with multiple use of insecticides is a common practice for processing sweet corn. In Canada, the use of Trichogramma spp. began in the 1990s, but the adoption of this approach for European corn borer management is still limited to the fresh market of sweet corn. Trichogramma ostriniae (Peng & Chen) has great potential as a biological control agent for large areas such as in processing sweet corn. The objective of this study was to evaluate an economically and environmentally sustainable alternative to insecticides for controlling European corn borer populations in processing sweet corn. During the growing season, the mean number of larvae decreased after insecticide (0.07 ± 0.04) and Trichogramma (1.32 ± 0.59) treatments compared with the control (2.42 ± 0.72). At harvest, damages associated with European corn borer were similar after Trichogramma (1.0 ± 0.7%) and insecticide (1.0 ± 0.6%) treatments, but significantly lower than the control (8.7 ± 3.3%). This study showed that the use of T. ostriniae can significantly decrease the pressure exerted by European corn borer and its damage on corn ears. This outcome is particularly interesting considering that it was achieved with lower doses of Trichogramma, a lower number of releases, and on large crop areas, compared with what is actually done to protect fresh market corn from European corn borer. Under these conditions, the use of Trichogramma is an economically and competitive alternative to insecticide applications.
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