Dispersal and field progeny production of Trichogramma species released in an olive orchard in Egypt
Dispersal ability and field progeny production of augmentative released biological control agents depend on ecological adaptations of the particular species or strains used. Four species of the egg parasitoid genus Trichogramma were compared aiming to select suitable candidates for control of lepidopteran olive pests. Three of them (T. bourarachae Pintureau and Babault, T. cordubensis Vargas and Cabello, T. euproctidis Girault) had been previously collected from olive groves, whereas the commercially available strain used (T. evanescens Westwood) was originally isolated from sugarcane fields. During five consecutive field releases in an olive orchard near Cairo, dispersal and/or progeny production of these species was monitored using sentinel eggs placed at different heights in the release tree canopies as well as in neighboring trees (“distance effect”). The cardinal direction of dispersal was random for T. euproctidis and T. evanescens. Significant higher parasitism occurred on sentinel eggs placed on the middle part of tree canopy and highest parasitism was observed in trees where wasps had been released. Field progeny production was highest for T. bourarachae, followed by T. euproctidis and T. cordubensis. T. evanescens propagated less under field conditions. Inter-tree dispersal of all species except T. bourarachae was limited and, for biological control, releasing material should therefore be distributed on each olive tree, preferably also at different levels of the canopy.