Studies at ICIPE's Mbita Point Field Station (site 1) and a farmer's field in Lambwe Valley (site 2) in Western Kenya, revealed the presence of at least seven parasitoids, two predators, one nematode and several microorganic pathogens attacking Maruca testulalis on cowpea crop. Some parasitoids and pathogens were also recovered from M. testulalis cadavers collected on wild host plants of the pest. A pupal endoparasitoid, Antrocephalus sp. was the most predominant, while the pathogens Nosema sp. and Bacillus sp. caused the highest natural mortality on M. testulalis in this region.
Parasitoids and pathogens contributed 40.65 and 35.6% to the total generation mortality (K) at sites 1 and 2 respectively. Observed parasitism only contributed 3.25% at site 1 and 3.8% at site 2 of the generation mortality. Mortality due to disappearance which included predation accounted for 59.35 and 64.8% of K at the respective sites. Life table data and survival curves for the pest revealed high generation mortality (ca. 98%), most of which occurred in the early life stages of the pest. The results suggest a high potential for utilizing biocontrol agents in IPM of the pest.