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The NI artificial diet is the only known successful diet for mass rearing the western tarnished plant bug, Lygus hesperus Knight (Hemiptera: Miridae). This diet has been used for more than a decade. However, because it contains cooked chicken egg, and thus requires laborious preparation (Cohen 2000), this diet is difficult to use. Three modifications (D1, D2, D3) of the NI diet were investigated in hopes of developing a more easily prepared diet that avoids the cooked egg and improves mass fitness parameters of L. hesperus. The modified D3 diet, containing autoclaved chicken egg yolk based component, had the highest egg/cage/day production (13120 ± 812 SE). This was significantly greater than diets D1, containing autoclaved dry chicken egg yolk based component (9027 ± 811 SE), D2, containing autoclaved chicken egg white based component (8311 ± 628 SE), and NI, which contained autoclaved chicken egg yolk cooked egg diet (7890 ± 761 SE). Significant differences were observed in the weights of all developmental stages except for eggs and first instar nymphs. Higher rates of fertility, hatchability, and low mortality in nymphs during the first instar were also obtained in the modified D3 diet. The results clearly indicated that the D3 diet provided an opportunity to significantly reduce rearing cost by avoiding time-consuming issues with preparation of a cooked egg diet. This should result in an increase in production capacity and a reduction in production costs.
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