Importance of host oviposition pattern and plant size for the selection of Trichogramma strains to control the diamondback moth


*Correspondence: Elisabeth Tabone, INRA, Unité Lutte Biologique, 1382 Route de Biot, 06560 Valbonne, France. E-mail:


The aim of this work was to select a candidate strain of Trichogrammatidae (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) to control the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella L. (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), an important pest of cabbage in Europe. The parasitic efficiency of Trichogramma chilonis Ishii from Japan and Réunion Island, Trichogramma evanescens Westwood from Egypt, Trichogramma ostriniae Pang & Chen from Japan, and Trichogramma semblidis (Aurivillius) from France was studied with sentinel eggs in greenhouse-grown cauliflower. The percentage of parasitized eggs was measured 1 m from the release point and 3 days after release. Two factors were studied: host-egg density (three eggs per stem vs. 50 eggs per stem) and plant size (50–100 cm high plants vs. 100–150 cm high plants). Trichogramma evanescens from Egypt achieved the best parasitism. Parasitism efficiency of T. ostriniae from Japan and T. chilonis from Réunion Island was not influenced by egg density. In contrast, parasitism efficiencies of the three other strains were higher at the lower egg density than at the higher egg density. Parasitism efficiency was lower when the plants were bigger, with the exception of T. chilonis from Réunion Island, for which the level of parasitism was not affected by plant size. Thus, T. chilonis from Réunion Island appeared to be the most suitable Trichogramma strain for use in controlling P. xylostella, regardless of the growth stage of the crop. However, T. ostriniae from Japan may also be more suitable for use on cauliflower crops at the early stage of crop development. If potential problems related to the introduction of exotic species are taken into consideration, it is possible to consider the native T. evanescens.