- 1The importance of nutrients consumed by adults differs among lepidopteran species. Knowledge of adult nutritional requirements is particularly useful when adopting biological control strategies that involve the use of flowering plants to improve the effectiveness of natural enemies. This is because nectar may also serve as a carbohydrate source for the pest.
- 2We evaluated the effect of different sources and concentrations of carbohydrate consumed by adults on the performance and fitness of the wheat armyworm Pseudaletia sequax Franclemont, which is an important pest of cereal crops.
- 3The consumption of carbohydrates by the adults significantly increased the length of the oviposition period, fecundity, fertility and longevity of P. sequax. Adult nutrition also affected the daily oviposition pattern of the females.
- 4The demographic parameters estimated for each diet regime (i.e. intrinsic rate of increase, finite rate of increase and net reproductive rate) were influenced by adult nutrition. These parameters also varied according to the source and concentration of carbohydrates.
- 5The results obtained in the present study suggest that the use of perennial flowering plants to provide a food source for natural enemies can also favour the pest.