The ectoparasitoid Habrobracon hebetor (Say) attacks stored-product infesting pyralid moths that are able to overwinter under extremely cold conditions. The extent to which H. hebetor can withstand these conditions is not known, but has important implications for the ability of H. hebetor to provide long-term suppression of these pests in temperate climates. We investigated basic cold hardiness aspects of a mutant eye-color strain of H. hebetor. Feeding larvae and adults of H. hebetor had supercooling points (SCPs) at temperatures higher than those of eggs and pupae. Mean SCPs of females and males were equivalent, as were those of naked and silk-encased pupae. Feeding on honey prior to being subjected to low temperatures significantly increased the SCP of adult females by approximately 8°C. Mortality of pupae and adults increased significantly whenever the temperature dropped below the mean SCP, indicating that H. hebetor does not tolerate freezing. For pupae and adults exposed to -12 and -5°C, the hourly mortality rate increased with time of exposure. Pupae and adults exposed to -12°C for different time intervals showed high mortality after only 1 d of exposure. At -5°C, none survived 12 d of exposure. A better understanding of how well this parasitoid tolerates low temperatures will be useful in evaluating its potential as a biological control agent of stored-product moths in temperate regions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We appreciate constructive reviews of this manuscript by two anonymous reviewers. We also thank Kristin Miller, Dr. Laura Weiser, and Christine Kulhanek for laboratory assistance. This project was funded by a University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (M.A.C.) and a University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid program.
- Cold hardiness
- Habrobracon hebetor
- Supercooling point