Honeydew-excreting hemipterans, such as mealybug pests, can be protected from their natural enemies by tending ants in return for honeydew, thereby compromising the aims of biological control. In this respect, antagonistic interactions between the ant Tapinoma nigerrimum, native to the Mediterranean basin, and the main natural enemies of both the vine mealybug (VMB), Planococcus ficus, and the citrus mealybug (CM), Planococcus citri, were assessed in laboratory conditions. Parasitism of vine and CMs by their respective parasitoids, Anagyrus sp. nr. pseudococci and Leptomastix dactylopii, was negatively affected by the ant T. nigerrimum. Similarly, T. nigerrimum was shown to significantly disrupt the predatory potential of ladybird larvae, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, when foraging on host CMs. By contrast, the presence of the ant did not negatively influence the predatory activity of C. montrouzieri adults when feeding on CMs. Consequently, the encyrtid parasitoids A. sp. nr. pseudococci and L. dactylopii and the larval stage of the predator C. montrouzieri may be considered as T. nigerrimum-sensitive, whereas the adults of C. montrouzieri may be regarded as T. nigerrimum-resistant predators. Accordingly, the ant T. nigerrimum constitutes a threat to the biological control of mealybugs by either the encyrtids A. sp. nr. pseudococci and L. dactylopii or the larval stage of the ladybird C. montrouzieri. Hence, adequate control of T. nigerrimum is highly recommended before any release of these mealybugs' natural enemies.
|Titolo:||Interactions between the ant Tapinoma nigerrimum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) and the main natural enemies of the vine and citrus mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)|
|Autori interni:||RUSSO, Agatino|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Rivista:||BIOCONTROL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|