Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), a gregarious larval endoparasitoid, is one of three biocontrol agents from Asia currently being released in the United States to combat the invasive emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). The current protocol for rearing T. planipennisi involves presenting the wasps with artificially infested ash sticks made by placing field-collected larvae into shallow grooves beneath flaps of bark. Although third and fourth instars are readily accepted by T. planipennisi in these exposures, the suitability of younger or older developmental stages, which are often more readily available in the field, has not been tested. In this study, we used both artificially infested ash sticks and naturally infested ash logs to test which emerald ash borer developmental stages (second to fourth instars, J larvae [preprepupae], prepupae, and pupae) are most suitable for rearing T. planipennisi. T. planipennisi parasitized all stages except for pupae, but parasitized fewer J larvae and prepupae in naturally infested logs than in artificially infested ash sticks. This is probably because, in naturally infested ash logs, these stages were confined to pupal chambers excavated in the sapwood and may have been largely beyond the reach of ovipositing T. planipennisi. The number of T. planipennisi progeny produced was positively correlated (logarithmic) with host weight, but this relationship was stronger when J larvae and prepupae were excluded from the data set. Fourth instars yielded the most parasitoid progeny, followed by, in approximately equal numbers, J larvae, prepupae, and third instars. Second instars yielded too few parasitoid progeny to benefit rearing efforts.
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Vol. 103 • No. 4