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MANAGEMENT POTENTIAL OF WHITEFLY, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) WITH PARASITOID OF NYMPHS Encarsia inaron (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae)

Abstract

The whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), is one of the pests with the greatest destructive potential in crops around the world, responsible for food damage, excretion of honeydew, transmission of more than 100 types of virus . Currently, it refers to B. tabaci as a complex of cryptic species that, despite being morphologically indistinguishable, may have distinct biological, genetic and ecological characteristics. In the B. tabaci MED and MEAM1 species complex, they are known for their aggressiveness and destructive capacity, both of which occur in Brazilian territory. The main control tactic adopted in the control of B. tabaci is the use of phytosanitary products. The prevalent and successive use of synthetic insecticides implies the selection of populations resistant to different chemical groups and residual effect on the environment. In this sense, it is important to carry out studies of other management tactics, such as biological control, with the release of parasitoids. Parasitoids of the genus Encarsia have shown potential in suppressing whitefly populations. Among the species, Encarsia inaron (Walker) (Hymenoptera: Aphelinidae) has the potential to be used in the management of B. tabaci, mainly because this species has been found parasitizing whitefly nymphs in open field crops, a predominant condition of agricultural production in Brazil. However, information regarding the potential of E. inaron to be used as a biological control agent for whiteflies is still limited. Thus, it is necessary to carry out studies on the host-parasitoid interaction, biological parameters, parasitism capacity, determination of thermal requirements, among other studies that are fundamental to determine the potential of natural enemies in the management of insect pests. Thus, the objective of this project is to evaluate the bioecological characteristics, aiming firstly at establishing the parasitoid breeding methodology, to later define the potential of whitefly control to maximize the use of the parasite of E. inaron nymphs in the management of B. tabaci. All this information will be a subsidy for the implementation of a biological control program with E. inaron for the management of B. tabaci. (AU)