Ecology Of Larra Bicolor (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae) In The Northern Gulf
Abraham, Cheri Muthirakalayil
AdvisorHeld, Wayne David
Layton Jr., M. Blake
Mole Crickets (Scapteriscus spp.) are the most destructive pests in southern turf and pasture grasses. In response to extensive losses from mole crickets, Florida formed a task force to identify natural enemies in the native range of these pests. Two parasitic insects, Larra bicolor and Ormia depleta, and Steinernema scapterisci, an entomopathogenic nematode, were imported and released. Of the two insects, only Larra bicolor has spread to other states infested with mole crickets in the southeast. The present study documents the seasonal biology of Larra bicolor in the northern Gulf region, ornamental plants that can be used as nectar sources, and the impact of these nectar sources on longevity of the wasp and parasitism of mole crickets. Results of field and laboratory experiments showed that the ornamental Pentas lanceolata attracted wasps in the field and provided comparable or better longevity than Spermacoce verticillata which was the only known nectar source.