Adding a Natural Enemy to Respond to Pest Immigration and Delayed Natural Enemy Releases in Augmentative Biological Control. Academic Article uri icon


  • Whether increased natural enemy density or adding a second natural enemy species will provide superior pest suppression in greenhouse augmentative biological control is unknown for many commercially available natural enemy species. In this study, we use sweetpotato whiteflies, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), on poinsettias, Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch (Malpighiales: Euphorbiaceae), to determine whether adding Amblyseius swirskii (Athias-Henriot) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) to Eretmocerus eremicus Rose and Zolnerowich (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) is better for B. tabaci suppression compared with either natural enemy alone, both with and without challenges with whitefly immigration or delayed natural enemy releases. The number of whiteflies on caged poinsettias treated with different natural enemy release rates (single or double rate), natural enemy species (one or two species), natural enemy delayed release (weeks 4 and 8), and whitefly immigration treatments (introduced at week 4 or week 8) was censused biweekly for 16 wk. Both species used in combination provided similar or better suppression of whiteflies compared with either natural enemy alone. Both species combined also provided superior suppression of whiteflies when challenged with whitefly immigration or delays in natural enemy releases compared with E. eremicus alone. Whitefly immigration or delays in E. eremicus releases did not increase whitefly populations, suggesting that suppression of whiteflies by E. eremicus alone is relatively robust. This study found no evidence for negative interactions between E. eremicus and A. swirskii for suppressing B. tabaci.

published proceedings

  • Environ Entomol

altmetric score

  • 3.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Vafaie, E. K., Pemberton, H. B., Gu, M., Kerns, D., Eubanks, M. D., & Heinz, K. M.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Vafaie, Erfan K||Pemberton, H Brent||Gu, Mengmeng||Kerns, David||Eubanks, Micky D||Heinz, Kevin M

editor list (cited editors)

  • Schmidt-Jeffris, R.

publication date

  • January 2021