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Keywords:

  • Ichneumonidae;
  • Ephestia kuehniella;
  • supercooling point;
  • age;
  • food;
  • acclimation

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Venturia canescens is a parthenogenetic koinobiont endoparasitoid of several pyralid moth larvae that are major pests of stored products. Low temperatures have been extensively used to control stored-product insects as an alternative to the application of traditional pesticides. However, most studies have focused on the cold hardiness profile of the major stored-product pests. The objective of this study was to investigate how factors such as age, food, host availability and acclimation affect the cold tolerance of V. canescens by determining its supercooling capacity.

Results

Young adults displayed significantly lower supercooling points (SCPs) than older adults, irrespective of the availability of a host. Host availability had a moderate effect on supercooling, whereas food consumption resulted in a significant enhancement of SCP. Acclimation to low temperatures increased the supercooling capacity considerably. Furthermore, an increase in the duration of exposure to acclimation temperature resulted in lower SCPs.

Conclusion

Adults of V. canescens displayed an enhanced ability to supercool, however, they appear to be less cold tolerant than their respective hosts. This information would be useful in determining the potential of using V. canescens as a biological agent in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, taking into consideration the adverse effects of low temperatures on its survival. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry