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Factors Affecting the Reproduction and Mass-Rearing of Sclerodermus brevicornis (Hymenoptera: Bethylidae), a Natural Enemy of Exotic Flat-Faced Longhorn Beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Lamiinae)

Costanza Jucker, Ian C.W. Hardy, Serena Malabusini, Silvia De Milato, Giacomo Zen, Sara Savoldelli, Daniela Lupi
Published: 24 September 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Insects
Insects , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100657

Abstract: Many species of long-horned beetles are invasive pests causing significant economic damage in agro-forestry systems. They spend the majority of their life-cycle concealed inside natural wood or wooden packaging materials and are largely protected from adverse environmental conditions and pesticide sprays. Biological control via parasitoid natural enemies including members of the bethylid genus Sclerodermus, has proven effective against some long-horned beetles that are invasive in China. In Europe, the biocontrol potential of native Sclerodermus species is being evaluated with a view to developing efficient mass-rearing techniques and then actively deploying them against invasive Asian beetles. Here, we continue evaluations of S. brevicornis by establishing that groups of females that have already reared offspring to emergence are capable of reproducing subsequent hosts and by evaluating the lifetime reproductive capacity of individual females provided with successive hosts. Additionally, we assess the laboratory shelf-life of adult females stored for different times at different temperatures including cold storage, and then assess the post-storage reproductive performance of groups of females provided with a single host. We found that adult female longevity declines with increasing storage temperature and that most aspects of subsequent performance are negatively affected by high temperatures. The adaptability to low temperature storage enhances the suitability of S. brevicornis to mass-rearing programs and thus biocontrol deployment.
Keywords: temperature / storage / Xylophagy / Mass-rearing system / quasi-social parasitoids

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