A field-based assessment of the parasitoid Aphelinus certus as a biological control agent of soybean aphid in North America

James Rudolph Miksanek, George E. Heimpel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Damaging outbreaks of soybean aphid continue to occur in North America despite the valuable biological control services provided by resident natural enemies. The adventive parasitoid Aphelinus certus Yasnosh (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) has recently established in North America and has been hypothesized to be a key component of the resident natural enemy community, but there have been few studies evaluating the efficacy of this parasitoid in suppressing soybean aphid populations. We used an exclusion cage study to quantify the effect of A. certus on soybean aphid population growth at four sites spanning western and east-central Minnesota from 2017 to 2019. There were minimal differences in soybean aphid population growth between experimental treatments that excluded natural enemies and control treatments, suggesting that parasitism of soybean aphid by A. certus did not have a strong impact on soybean aphid population growth during this study. Because, for example, A. certus larvae can reduce host reproduction prior to mortality (resulting in underestimates of effects in short-term studies), our results reflect the challenges of using exclusion cages to assess the effects of individual natural enemy species, especially those with complex life cycles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104284
JournalBiological Control
Volume146
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Jonathan Dregni for maintaining laboratory colonies of soybean aphid, Kelton Welch and Carl Stenoien for their assistance with cage studies, and Henry Davis for his help with cages studies. We would also like to thank our network of soybean growers and Extension contacts across Minnesota; Gregg Johnson, Tom Donelan, and Tom Hoverstad of the University of Minnesota’s Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC); Mark Lostetter and Kimon Karelis of the Outreach, Research, and Education Park (UMore Park); and Andrew Scobbie of the University of Minnesota's Agricultural Experiment Station in Saint Paul. Lastly, we thank Robert Koch, Carl Stenoien, and four anonymous reviewers for providing comments on previous drafts of this manuscript, and Dave Andow and Robert Venette for their guidance during the early stages of this work. This study was funded by a grant to GEH from the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (mitppc.umn.edu) through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the North Central Soybean Research Program (ncsrp.com), and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (mnsoybean.org/ MSRPC).

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Jonathan Dregni for maintaining laboratory colonies of soybean aphid, Kelton Welch and Carl Stenoien for their assistance with cage studies, and Henry Davis for his help with cages studies. We would also like to thank our network of soybean growers and Extension contacts across Minnesota; Gregg Johnson, Tom Donelan, and Tom Hoverstad of the University of Minnesota's Southern Research and Outreach Center (SROC); Mark Lostetter and Kimon Karelis of the Outreach, Research, and Education Park (UMore Park); and Andrew Scobbie of the University of Minnesota's Agricultural Experiment Station in Saint Paul. Lastly, we thank Robert Koch, Carl Stenoien, and four anonymous reviewers for providing comments on previous drafts of this manuscript, and Dave Andow and Robert Venette for their guidance during the early stages of this work. This study was funded by a grant to GEH from the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (mitppc.umn.edu) through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, the North Central Soybean Research Program (ncsrp.com), and the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (mnsoybean.org/ MSRPC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Biological control
  • Exclusion cages
  • Natural enemies
  • Parasitism
  • Pest management
  • Population dynamics

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