The parasitoid wasp, Aphidius colemani, injects eggs into aphids so their larvae can develop inside. After a week or two an adult wasp emerges dramatically from a hole in the aphid which is now a brown, hardened shell called a mummy. Due to its prowess in hunting down and killing aphids, Aphidius colemani has become the most widely used biological control agents in the world for aphid pests in greenhouse crops. Unfortunately, the level of control can change every time you release A. colemani into a different crop, at a different temperature, or with different aphid species present. In a new paper Frank Lab alums Sara Prado and Sarah Jandricic leave no stone unturned when reviewing the ecological interactions that affect A. colemani efficacy in greenhouses. In a previous paper, Sara Prado showed that the shape and density of the crop plant effects aphid control by A. colemani. Sarah Jandricic has shown that plant species affects A. colemani development, size, and sex ratio. There are dozens of biotic and abiotic factors that could affect aphid biological control by A. colemani. This paper compiles decades of research on A. colemani and identifies critical research needs.
Prado, S.G.; Jandricic, S.E.; Frank, S.D. (2015) Ecological interactions affecting the efficacy of Aphidius colemani in greenhouse crops. Insects, 6, 538-575. Open access.