Developing native predatory mirids as novel biocontrol agents for tomato pests in Canada

Citation

Desloges Baril, P., Des Marteaux, L., Labbé, R., and VanLaerhoven, S. 2022. Developing native predatory mirids as novel biocontrol agents for tomato pests in Canada. (Joint Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia – Vancouver, Canada)

Plain language summary

We aimed to seek and develop new native insect predators for control of tomato pests in Ontario. We are especially in need of predators for moth pests such as the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (an invasive species that could establish in Canada). Two species of predatory bug collected in Sudbury were amenable to lab rearing, survived on tomato in the field, and consumed many moth eggs and larvae. Commercial development of these species would add to the toolbox available to Canadian tomato growers.

Abstract

Canadian tomato growers are challenged with the task of pest management for a variety of insects amidst increasing insecticide resistance and risks of new invasive species. The leafminer moth, Tuta absoluta, is among the most destructive pests expected to threaten the North American tomato industry, therefore insect biocontrol agents (BCAs) against lepidopterans must be at the ready. Native predatory insects make appealing BCAs due to their low ecological risk and fewer regulatory hurdles compared to non-native species, however few native species have been developed as BCAs to date. To identify candidate native BCAs for tomato, we surveyed Ontario and established colonies of two predatory mirids: Dicyphus discrepans and D. famelicus. We quantified the predatory capacity of these mirids against eggs and larvae of lepidopteran proxies for T. absoluta, and determined that they successfully establish populations on field tomato. Life history traits were characterized in a parallel study. Overall these mirids appear to be viable BCAs and their further development would add to the toolbox available to Canadian tomato growers.

Publication date

2022-11-15