Bioecology of Anagyrus saccharicola (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), a parasitoid of the pink sugarcane mealybug Saccharicoccus sacchari (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae)
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Parasitoids can be used as biological agents of pest control. Anagyrus saccharicola Timberlake (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) is a parasitoid of the pink sugarcane mealybug Saccharicoccus sacchari (Cockerell) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). Although this mealybug is present in all sugarcane-producing countries, there is limited information regarding this pest and its parasitoid. Aiming to elucidate information on bioecological parameters of A. saccharicola, were evaluated the survival of parasitoid females and males at three temperatures, the host preference of the parasitoid, and the fecundity and longevity of the host. In addition, the parasitism rate of A. saccharicola was estimated based on three factors, feeding, mating, and time. Survival was evaluated at 20, 25, and 30°C. Host preference was conducted on 15-, 20-, and 30-day-old mealybugs. And the parasitism rate was evaluated in fed and unfed, mated and unmated parasitoids and with 24 h and newly emerged. The temperature of 20°C was the most favorable for parasitoid survival. Parasitism occurred at all evaluated ages of the mealybug; however, the preference was for those that were 30-days-old. The parasitized mealybugs longevity was approximately 8 additional days after parasitization, and non-parasitized mealybugs lived for an additional 20 days for mealybugs aged 30 and 20 days at the outset of the tests, and a further 13 days for the 15 days. Feeding and mating after 24 h of emergence resulted in a higher parasitism rate. These findings can contribute to more efficient rearing of A. saccharicola and in the planning of the biological control of S. sacchari in the integrated pest management programs. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press.