Induced dormancy in Indian meal moth Plodia interpunctella (Hübner) and its impact on the quality improvement for mass rearing in parasitoid Habrobracon hebetor (Say).Bull Entomol Res. 2022 Dec; 112(6):766-776.BE
A steady supply of hosts at the susceptible stage for parasitism is a major component of mass rearing parasitoids for biological control programs. Here we describe the effects of storing 5th instar Plodia interpunctella larvae in dormancy on subsequent host development in the context of host colony maintenance and effects of the duration of host dormancy on the development of Habrobracon hebetor parasitoids reared from dormant hosts. We induced dormancy with a combination of short daylength (12L:12D) and lower temperature (15°C), conditions known to induce diapause in this species, and held 5th instar larvae of P. interpunctella for a series of dormancy durations ranging from 15 to 105 days. Extended storage of dormant 5th instar larvae had no significant impacts on survival, development, or reproductive potential of P. interpunctella, reinforcing that dormant hosts have a substantial shelf life. This ability to store hosts in dormancy for more than 3 months at a time without strong negative consequences reinforces the promise of using dormancy to maintain host colonies. The proportion of hosts parasitized by H. hebetor did not vary significantly between non-dormant host larvae and dormant host larvae stored for periods as long as 105 days. Concordant with a prior study, H. hebetor adult progeny production from dormant host larvae was higher than the number of progeny produced on non-dormant host larvae. There were no differences in size, sex ratio, or reproductive output of parasitoids reared on dormant hosts compared to non-dormant hosts stored for up to 105 days. Larval development times of H. hebetor were however longer when reared on dormant hosts compared to non-dormant hosts. Our results agree with other studies showing using dormant hosts can improve parasitoid mass rearing, and we show benefits for parasitoid rearing even after 3 months of host dormancy.