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The life table statistics of six native Kenyan species/strains of Trichogramma and Trichogrammatoidea were established using a factitious host Corcyra cephalonica, Stainton (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), at eight different temperatures (10, 15, 20, 25, 28, 30, 32 and 35°C) and two humidity levels (40–50 and 70–80%). The objective was to select insects with superior attributes for augmentative release against lepidopteran pests in horticultural crops. Both temperature and humidity affected developmental time and life table parameters of the parasitoids but temperature played a more critical role. Developmental time was inversely related to temperature. The intrinsic and finite rates of increase increased with temperature up to 30°C. Both net reproduction rate and intrinsic rate of increase were higher at the lower humidity. Temperature inversely affected generation time of parasitoid strains regardless of the relative humidity. Two strains of Trichogramma sp. nr. mwanzai collected from both low and medium altitudes and Trichogrammatoidea sp. nr. lutea from the mid-altitudes, were better adapted to both low and high temperatures than the other strains, as indicated by the high intrinsic and net reproductive rates, at both humidity levels. These three strains appear to be promising candidates for augmentation biocontrol against the African bollworm Helicoverpa armigera in Kenya.
Two isolates of nucleopolyhedroviruses (NPVs) from Kenya and South Africa were compared to Gemstar® (a commercial NPV) for their pathogenicity against the first four larval instars of Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner). The larvae were fed on droplets with the three virus products in concentrations of 0 (control), 6×102, 6×103, 6×104 and 6×105 occlusion bodies/μl. The bioassays showed that the median lethal dose (LD50) values of 23 and 631 occlusion bodies for the first and second instars, respectively, were comparable to those of Gemstar®. The LD50 values for the third and fourth instars were 3981 and 39,810 for the Kenyan isolate and 1288 and 25,119 for the South African isolate. There was a linear relationship between the log LD50, the larval age and the lethal time (LT50), which appeared to be dose dependent. This correlation constitutes a useful index for estimating susceptibility of larval populations. The LT50 increased from 2.8 to 11.9 days and 2.8 to 6.8 days, respectively, for the Kenyan and South African isolates, suggesting a slight increase of resistance with age within infected larvae.
Among the important constraints to vegetable production in Africa are the lepidopteran pests, in particular Helicoverpa armigera (Hb.) and Plutella xylostella (L.) which cause direct yield loss as well as cosmetic damage. Egg parasitoids, especially Trichogramma spp., shown promise as biocontrol agents against both species in previous studies. In Africa, surveys have so far recorded 18 species of Trichogramma, eight of Trichogrammatoidea and seven of Telenomus besides one species each of Baryscopus and Oencyrtus. For effective utilisation of egg parasitoids in vegetable ecosystems in Africa, the experience gained elsewhere should be suitably utilised, and complementary research undertaken. This paper examines the scope for use of egg parasitoids in Africa, focusing on five research areas. Firstly, surveys should be undertaken to collect, characterise, and catalogue the different species and strains of egg parasitoids occurring in the region. Secondly, the pest status of target Lepidoptera and the potential demand for use of egg parasitoids in the major ecologies should be assessed. Thirdly, the local and/or exotic species/strains with good potential to control H. armigera and P. xylostella need to be identified, and fourthly, analyses aimed at selecting appropriate mass production and delivery systems for Trichogramma use in major vegetable crops should be undertaken. Finally, optimisation of inundative release strategies should be researched on. The scope for research collaboration within Africa and internationally is discussed.
The defoliating beetle Mesoplatys ochroptera Stål (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) has become a serious pest of the tropical legume Sesbania sesban (L.) Merrill in agroforestry systems in eastern and southern African countries. In this study, 32 accessions of Sesbania spp. collected from eastern and southern Africa were screened for resistance to M. ochroptera at Msekera, Zambia. Two mechanisms of resistance—antixenosis and antibiosis—were indicated in the different accessions. Accessions of Sesbania bispinosa, S. leptocarpa and S. macrantha were found to be more preferred by the insect compared to S. sesban and S. rostrata accessions. Preference of accessions was negatively correlated with leaf-hair density and positively correlated with the number of leaves per seedling and plant height. Under the conditions of eastern Zambia, some accessions of S. sesban from Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia were found to be comparable to the Zambian accessions in survival, growth and biomass production. Four accessions of S. sesban—Kakamega (ex Kibwezi) and Kisii 2 from Kenya, Zwai 090 from Ethiopia and Rumphi from Malawi—appeared to compensate well for M. ochroptera damage.
Field experiments at the Msekera Regional Research Station during 1988–1990 and at Masumba (Luangwa Valley) Sub-station during 1989–1990 showed that six groundnut genotypes—ICG.485, ICG.2271, ICG-2306, ICG.5041, ICG.5045 and HyQ (cg) S-10 were distinctly less susceptible to the leafhopper, Empoasca dolichi (Paoli). ICG.2271 also appeared to combine low susceptibility to early leaf spot, Cercospora arachidicola Hori and good yield potential. This genotype as well as ICG.5041 and ICG.5045 also are known to be resistant to thrips and/or termites. The scope for their utilization in exploitation of leafhopper resistance in groundnut improvement programme in Zambia is indicated.
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