Evaluation of Biological Control Agent Shipments from Three United States Suppliers

in HortTechnology
Authors:
V. Bruce Steward Clemson University, Department of Entomology, Clemson, SC 29634-0365, Longwood Gardens, P.O. Box 501, Kennett Square PA 19348-0501.
University of Maryland, Department of Entomology, College Park, MD 20742, Longwood Gardens, P.O. Box 501, Kennett Square PA 19348-0501.

Search for other papers by V. Bruce Steward in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Janet L. Kintz Clemson University, Department of Entomology, Clemson, SC 29634-0365, Longwood Gardens, P.O. Box 501, Kennett Square PA 19348-0501.

Search for other papers by Janet L. Kintz in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Tracy A. Horner University of Maryland, Department of Entomology, College Park, MD 20742, Longwood Gardens, P.O. Box 501, Kennett Square PA 19348-0501.

Search for other papers by Tracy A. Horner in
ASHS
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

Biological control agents were ordered from three U.S. suppliers three times during 1994 and were evaluated (total of nine orders evaluated). Biological control agents evaluated were a whitefly parasitoid [Encarsia formosa Gahan (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)], mealybug destroyer [Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)], insidious flower bug [Orius insidiosus (Say) (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae)], and a predatory mite [Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot (Acari: Phytoseiidae)]. Arrival time, packaging methods, cost, quality, and quantity for each shipment were recorded. Six of the nine orders evaluated did not arrive by the date promised by the supplier. Most biological control agents were shipped in styrofoam boxes; the method by which they were packed in the box differed among suppliers. The cost of each biological control agent order ranged from $260.64 to $327.03 and varied with the same supplier. The number of viable E. formosa emerging ranged from 745 to 4901; two of the nine orders met the quota of 2000 live wasps. The total number of live C. montrouzieri received ranged from 234 to 288; five orders contained the expected number of 250 live beetles. For the expected order of 1000 O. insidiosus, quantities of live insects ranged from 423 to 1333; three orders contained at least the expected amount. The number of live P. persimilis ranged from 199 to 4447. Three orders contained the targeted amount of 2000. Our findings indicate that there are problems with the quantity of viable biological control agents being shipped. To build consumer confidence in the potential effectiveness of biological control, suppliers and producers of biological control agents must address ways to ensure that the consumer receives a high-quality product, in quantity and viability.

  • Collapse
  • Expand