A review of the natural enemies of beetles in the subtribe Diabroticina (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae): implications for sustainable pest management
Diabroticina is a speciose subtribe of New World Chrysomelidae (Subfamily Galerucinae: Tribe Luperini) that includes pests such as corn rootworms, cucumber beetles and bean leaf beetles (e.g. Diabrotica, Acalymma, Cerotoma species). The evolution and spread of pesticide resistance, the European invasion of Diabrotica v. virgifera LeConte, and possible development of resistance due to the large-scale deployment of Diabrotica-active Bt maize in North America have generated a sense of urgency in developing biological control options against Diabroticina pests. In the present study, we review available knowledge on biological control options, including 290 publications on natural enemy–Diabroticina associations in the New World. Several natural enemy species or groups appear to be promising candidates for control strategies with different ecological rationales. We propose that future research should pursue: (1) development of inundative biological control products, particularly mass-produced entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi, (2) understanding of specific natural enemies of Diabroticina larvae throughout the Americas and of adults particularly in higher altitudes of Central America or northern South America including potential classical biological control agents against D. v. virgifera; (3) enhancement of natural enemies through cultural practices, i.e., reduced tillage, reduced weed control, cover crops, diversified crop rotations or soil amendments. Research and action must be coordinated to accelerate the exploration of biological control options.
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