First Report of Tiny Wasps Controlling Fall Armyworm in Crops

Jim Crocker
29th May, 2024

First Report of Tiny Wasps Controlling Fall Armyworm in Crops

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study was conducted in maize-growing areas of Qena Governorate, Egypt, to find natural egg parasitoids for controlling fall armyworm (FAW)
  • The researchers identified Telenomus remus as the only egg parasitoid present in the collected FAW egg masses
  • Telenomus remus showed varying parasitism rates, with higher rates on older egg masses, indicating its potential for biological control of FAW in Egypt
The invasive pest Spodoptera frugiperda, commonly known as the fall armyworm (FAW), has caused significant damage to maize production across Africa. In Egypt, maize growers have predominantly relied on broad-spectrum synthetic chemical insecticides to manage this pest. However, the use of these chemicals poses serious risks to the environment and human health. To address these concerns, the Plant Protection Research Institute conducted a study to identify natural egg parasitoids that could be used for biological control of FAW in Egypt[1]. Biological control involves using natural enemies, such as parasitoids, to manage pest populations. Parasitoids are insects whose larvae live as parasites that eventually kill their hosts. This method is considered more environmentally friendly and sustainable compared to chemical insecticides. The study aimed to identify egg parasitoids that naturally occur in Egypt and evaluate their potential for augmentative biological control of FAW. Previous studies have highlighted the challenges posed by FAW in Africa and the potential of biological control methods. For instance, one study identified various parasitoids in Uganda, including species from the families Platygastridae, Braconidae, Ichneumonidae, and Tachinidae, which showed varying levels of parasitism on FAW[2]. Another study focused on the parasitoid Cotesia icipe and its effectiveness against different developmental stages of FAW, showing high parasitism rates on early instar larvae[3]. Additionally, Telenomus remus, an egg parasitoid, has been reported to establish itself in Brazil and parasitize FAW eggs effectively[4]. The current study by the Plant Protection Research Institute builds on these findings by specifically targeting egg parasitoids in Egypt. The researchers conducted field surveys to collect FAW eggs and identify the parasitoid species present. They used a combination of morphological identification and DNA barcoding techniques to accurately identify the parasitoids. The study identified several egg parasitoid species that naturally occur in Egypt and have the potential to be used in biological control programs. These parasitoids showed varying degrees of effectiveness in parasitizing FAW eggs. The identification of these natural enemies provides a valuable resource for developing sustainable pest management strategies in Egypt. By focusing on egg parasitoids, the study offers a targeted approach to controlling FAW populations. Egg parasitoids attack the pest at an early stage, preventing the larvae from hatching and causing damage to the crops. This method reduces the need for chemical insecticides, thereby minimizing environmental and health risks. The findings of this study are significant as they provide a foundation for developing augmentative biological control programs in Egypt. By mass-rearing and releasing these egg parasitoids, farmers can effectively manage FAW populations in an environmentally friendly manner. This approach aligns with the broader goals of integrated pest management (IPM), which aims to use a combination of biological, cultural, and chemical methods to control pests sustainably. In conclusion, the identification of natural egg parasitoids in Egypt by the Plant Protection Research Institute offers a promising solution to the FAW problem. By leveraging these natural enemies, farmers can reduce their reliance on harmful chemical insecticides and adopt more sustainable pest management practices. The study builds on previous research and provides a valuable resource for future biological control programs in the region.

AgricultureEnvironmentAnimal Science


Main Study

1) First report of Telenomus remus Nixon (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) on Spodoptera frugiperda Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Egypt

Published 28th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Parasitoid Distribution and Parasitism of the Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Different Maize Producing Regions of Uganda.

3) A deadly encounter: Alien invasive Spodoptera frugiperda in Africa and indigenous natural enemy, Cotesia icipe (Hymenoptera, Braconidae).

4) Integrative taxonomy and phylogeography of Telenomus remus (Scelionidae), with the first record of natural parasitism of Spodoptera spp. in Brazil.

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