University of California

Natural biological control of western yellow-striped armyworm, Spodoptera praefica (Grote), in hay alfalfa in northern California


B. Bisabri-Ershadi
L. E. Ehler

Authors Affiliations

B. Bisabri-Ershadi was formerly graduate student, Department of Entomology, Davis, is Senior Research Biologist, Agricultural Products Research, Dow Chemical USA, 2800 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek, CA 94598; L. E. Ehler was Associate Professor of Entomology and Associate Entomologist in the Experiment Station, Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 49(5):1-23. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v49n05p023. December 1981.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


The effect of natural enemies on populations of western yellow-striped armyworm (Spodoptera praefica [Grote]) was assessed in hay alfalfa in the Sacramento Valley of California. Analysis of partial age-specific life tables (i.e., egg to pupa) revealed that most of the generation or real mortality of S. praefica occurred during the egg-small-larval age interval. Experimentation revealed that such mortality was largely due to a complex of polyphagous predators. Predators included larvae of Chrysopa carnea Stephens; adults and nymphs of Geocoris pallens Sål, G. punctipes (Say), G. atricolor Montandon, Nabis americoferus Carayon, N. alternatus Parshley, and Orius tristicolor (White); adults of Collops vittatus (Say); and the notorious “pest” species, Lygus hesperus Knight. Parasites and disease had a relatively minor impact on populations of S. praefica. The results provide further support for biological control of insect pests in temporary agroecosystems and illustrate the importance of polyphagous predators in such biological control.

Literature Cited

Arnold C. Y. Maximum-minimum temperatures as a basis for computing heat units. Proc. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci. 1960. 76:682-92.

Benedict J. H. Ecological and behavioral studies of the damsel bugs, Nabis alternates Parshley and N. americoferus Carayon. 1975. Hemiptera: Nabidae. in northern California hay alfalfa. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Davis.

Benedict J. H., Cothran W. R. A faunistic survey of Hemiptera-Heteroptera found in northern California hay alfalfa. Environ. Entomol. 1975. 68:897-900.

Benedict J. H., Cothran W. R. Parasitism of the common damsel bug Nabis americoferus in Central California alfalfa. Southwestern Entomologist. 1978. 3:37-42.

Benedict J. H., Cothran W. R. Damsel bugs useful as predators but need help. Calif. Agr. 1980. 34:11-12.

Blanchard R. A., Conger C. B. Notes on Prodenia praefica Grote. J. Econ. Entomol. 1932. 25:1059-70.

Campbell A., Frazer B. D., Gilbert N., Gutierrez A. P., Mackauer M. Temperature requirements of some aphids and their parasites. J. Appl. Ecol. 1974. 11:431-38. DOI: 10.2307/2402197 [CrossRef]

Champlain R. A., Sholdt L. L. Temperature range for development of immature stages of Geocoris punctipes (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1967. 60:883-85.

Collins F. H., Washino R. K., Chapman H. C., Barr A. R., Laird M., Weidhaus D. E. Insect predators as agents of mosquito control. Biocontrol of Mosquitoes Am. Mosq. Contr. Assoc. Bull. No. 6. In press

Conway G. R., May R. M. Man versus pests. Theoretical Ecology. 1976. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. 317p.

Debach P. Biological Control of Insect Pests and Weeds. 1964. London: Chapman and Hall Ltd. 844p.

Dietrick E. J. An improved backpack motor fan for suction sampling of insect populations. J. Econ. Entomol. 1961. 54:394-95.

Dietrick E. J., Schlinger E. I., Van den Bosch R. A new method for sampling arthropods using a suction collecting machine and modified Berlese funnel separator. J. Econ. Entomol. 1959. 52:1085-91.

Ehler L. E. Natural enemies of cabbage looper on cotton in the San Joaquin Valley. Hilgardia. 1977. 45:73-106. DOI: 10.3733/hilg.v45n03p073 [CrossRef]

Ehler L. E., Eveleens K. G., Van den Bosch R. An evaluation of some natural enemies of cabbage looper on cotton in California. Environ. Entomol. 1973. 2:1009-15.

Ehler L. E., Miller J. C. Biological control in temporary agroecosystems. Entomophaga. 1978. 23:207-12. DOI: 10.1007/BF02373094 [CrossRef]

Ehler L. E., Van den Bosch R. An analysis of the natural biological control of Trichoplusia ni (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) on cotton in California. Can. Entomol. 1974. 106:1067-73.

Eickwort K. R. Population dynamics of a relatively rare species of milkweed beetle (Labidomera). Ecology. 1977. 58:527-38.

Eveleens K. G., Van den Bosch R., Ehler L. E. Secondary outbreak induction of beet armyworm by experimental insecticide application in cotton in California. Environ. Entomol. 1973. 2:497-503.

Gilbert N., Gutierrez A. P. A plant-aphid-parasite relationship. J. Anim. Ecol. 1973. 42:323-40. DOI: 10.2307/3288 [CrossRef]

Guppy J. C., Harcourt D. G. Effects of temperature on development of the immature stages of the leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Can. Entomol. 1978. 110:257-63.

Hagen K. S., Sawall E. F. Jr., Tassan R. L. The use of food sprays to increase effectiveness of entomophagous insects. Proc. Tall Timbers Conf. Ecol. Anim. Contr. Hab. Mgt. 1971. 2:59-81.

Hagen K. S., Greany P., Sawall E. F. Jr., Tassan R. L. Tryptophane in artificial honey dews as a source of an attractant for adult Chrysopa carnea. Environ. Entomol. 1976. 5:458-68.

Hall R. W., Ehler L. E. Rate of establishment of natural enemies in classical biological control. Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1979. 25:280-2.

Hall R. W., Ehler L. E., Bisabri-Ershadi B. Rate of success in classical biological control of arthropods. Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1980. 26:111-14.

Hassell M. P. The Dynamics of Arhtropod Predator-Prey Systems. 1978. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton Univ. Press. 237p.

Ignoffo C. M., Marston N. L., Puttler B., Hostetter D. L., Thomas G. D., Biever K. D., Dickerson W. A., Hill L. D. Natural biotic agents controlling insect pests of Missouri soybeans. World Soybean Research. 1976. Danville, Illinois: Interstate Publishers &; Printers. p. 561-78. 1073

Johnson E. F., Trottier R., Laing J. E. Degree-day relationship to the development of Lithocolletis blancardella (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) and its parasite Apanteles ornigis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Can. Entomol. 1979. 111:1177-84.

Karandinos M. G. Optimum sample size and comments on some published formulae. Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1976. 22:417-21.

Lima De J. O. G. Biology of Geocoris pallens Stål on selected cotton genotypes 1980. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Davis.

Lloyd D. C. Significance of the type of host plant crop in successful biological control of insect pests. Nature. 1960. 187:430-31. DOI: 10.1038/187430a0 [CrossRef]

Mac Arthur R. H., Wilson E. O. The Theory of Island Biogeography. 1967. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 203p.

Miller J. C. Ecological relationships among parasites of Spodoptera praefica. Environ. Entomol. 1977. 6:581-85.

Miller J. C. Niche relationships among parasitic insects occurring in a temporary habitat. Ecology. 1980. 61:270-75. DOI: 10.2307/1935185 [CrossRef]

Miller J. C., Ehler L. E. Parasitization of Spodoptera praefica larvae in hay alfalfa. Environ. Entomol. 1978. 7:744-47.

Morris R. F., Fulton W. C. Models for the development and survival of Hypantria cunea in relation to temperature and humidity. Mem. Entomol. Soc. Can. 1970. p.60.

Morris R. F., Miller C. A. The development of life-tables for spruce budworm. Can. J. Zool. 1954. 32:283-301. DOI: 10.1139/z54-027 [CrossRef]

New T. R. The biology of Chrysopidae and Hemerobiidae with reference to their usage as biocontrol agents: a review. Trans. R. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 1975. 127:115-40. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.1975.tb00561.x [CrossRef]

Newsom L. D. The end of an era and future prospects for insect control. Proc. Tall Timb. Conf. Ecol. Anim. Contr. Hab. Mgt. 1970. 2:117-36.

Post W. M., Riechert S. E. Initial investigation into the structure of spider communities. J. Anim. Ecol. 1977. 46:729-49. DOI: 10.2307/3637 [CrossRef]

Randolph P. A. Influence of environmental variability on land snail population properties. Ecology. 1973. 54:933-55. DOI: 10.2307/1935694 [CrossRef]

Reid J. A. K., Laing J. E. Developmental threshold and degree-days to adult emergence for overwintering pupae of apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella (Walsh) collected in Ontario. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Ont. 1978. 107:19-22.

Ridgway R. L. Use of parasites, predators, and microbial agents in management of insect pests of crops. Implementing Practical Pest Management Strategies. 1972. Indiana: Purdue Univ., West Lafayette. 206p.

Ridgway R. L., Jones S. L. Plant feeding by Geocoris pollens and Nabis americoferus. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1968. 61:232-33.

Ryerson S. A., Stone J. D. A selected bibliography of two species of Onus: the minute pirate bug, Orius tristicolor, and Onus insidiosus (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae). Bull. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1979. 25:131-35.

Salas-Aguilar J., Ehler L. E. Feeding habits of Onus tristicolor. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1977. 70:60-62.

Sciarappa W. J. Jr., Swift F., Knisley C. B. Distribution, abundance, and interspecific associations of Typhlodromips sessar (Acarina: Phytoseiidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 1977. 70:955-59.

Sears D. E., Smith J. W. Jr. A natural mortality table for the corn earworm on peanuts 1975. Texas Agr. Exp. Stn. Progress Report 3344.

Sevacherian V. Heat accumulation for timing Lygus control measures in a safflower-cotton complex. J. Econ. Entomol. 1977. 70:399-402.

Simmonds F. G., Bennett F. D. Biological control of agricultural pests 1977. pp.464-72. Proc. XV Intern. Cong. Entomol.

Smith H. S., DeBach P. The measurement of the effect of entomophagous insects on population densities of their hosts. J. Econ. Entomol. 1942. 35:845-49.

Southwood T. R. E. Entomology and mankind. Am. Sci. 1977a. 65:30-39.

Southwood T. R. E, Cherrett J. M., Sugar G. R. The relevance of population dynamic theory to pest status. Origins of Pest, Parasite, Disease and Weed Problems. 1977b. London: Blackwell. p. 35-54.

Southwood T. R. E. Ecological Methods with Particular Reference to the Study of Insect Populations. 1978. London: Chapman and Hall Ltd. 524p.

Southwood T. R. E, Jepson W. F. Studies on the population of Oscinella frit L. (Diptera: Chloropidae). in the oat crop. J. Anim. Ecol. 1962. 31:481-95.

Steinhaus E. A. Report on diagnosis of diseased insects, 1944-1950. Hilgardia. 1951. 20:629-78. DOI: 10.3733/hilg.v20n22p629 [CrossRef]

Stoltz R. L., Stern V. M. Cotton arthropod food chain disruption by pesticides in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Environ. Entomol. 1978. 7:703-07.

Stoner A. Plant feeding by Nabis, a predaceous genus. Environ. Entomol. 1972. 1:557-8.

Tamaki G., Weeks R. E. Biology and ecology of two predators, Geocoris pallens Stål and G. bullatus (Say). U.S.D.A. Tech. Bull. 1972. 1446:46

Tassan R. L., Hagen K. S., Sawall E. F. Jr. The influence of field food sprays on the egg production rate of Chrysopa carnea. Environ. Entomol. 1979. 8:81-5.

Tauber C. A. Systematics of North American chrysopid larvae: Chrysopa carnea group (Neuroptera). Can. Entomol. 1974. 106:1133-53.

Tauber C. A., Tauber M. J. Diversification and secondary integradation of two Chrysopa carnea strains (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae). Can. Entomol. 1973. 105:1153-67.

Tauber C. A., Tauber M. J. A genetic model for sympatric speciation through habitat diversification and seasonal isolation. Nature. 1977. 268:702-05. DOI: 10.1038/268702a0 [CrossRef]

Tauber M. J., Tauber C. A. Criteria for selecting Chrysopa carnea biotypes for biological control: adult dietary requirements. Can. Entomol. 1975. 107:589-95.

Tinsley T. W. The potential of insect pathogenic viruses as pesticidal agents. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 1979. 24:63-87. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.en.24.010179.000431 [CrossRef]

Van den Bosch R. The bionomics of Prodenia praefica in California 1950. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of California, Berkeley.

Van den Bosch R., Hagen K. S. Predaceous and parasitic arthropods in California cotton fields. Calif. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull. 1966. 820:32

Van den Bosch R., Smith R. F. A taxonomic and distributional study of the species of Progenia occurring in California. Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 1955. 31:21-28.

Van den Bosch R., Stern V. M. The effect of harvesting practices on insect populations in alfalfa. Proc. Tall Timb. Conf. Ecol. Anim. Contr. Hab. Mgt. 1969. 1:47-54.

Whalon M. E., Smilowitz Z. Temperature-dependent model for predicting field populations of green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Homoptera: Aphididae). Can. Entomol. 1979. 111:1025-32.

Yokoyama V. Y. Relation of seasonal changes in extrafloral nectar and foliar protein and arthropod populations in cotton. Environ. Entomol. 1978. 7:799-802.

Yokoyama V. Y. Method for rearing Geocoris pollens (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae), a predator in California cotton. Can. Entomol. 1980. 112:1-4.

Bisabri-Ershadi B, Ehler L. 1981. Natural biological control of western yellow-striped armyworm, Spodoptera praefica (Grote), in hay alfalfa in northern California. Hilgardia 49(5):1-23. DOI:10.3733/hilg.v49n05p023
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu