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applestar
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TIPHIID WASPS, Garden Patrol Japanese Beetle Specialists

Subject: A posse of Japanese beetles

applestar wrote:I have been looking a little more into the Japanese beetle predators and other natural controls because they are out of control this year in my garden -- They are absolutely all over my pole beans. Not only turning the leaves into lacework, but feasting on the blossoms. I'm finding them piled on top of each other three high (somebeetle in the stack is obviously confused :P )

I really suspect that somebody in the neighborhood is hanging those pheromone traps and attracting them.

I'm not REALLY worried for the beans because I'm harvesting more than we can eat inspite of whatever damage they are inflicting. And I'm sure these populations didn't come from my garden because when I was digging around this spring, I hardly saw ANY grubs. We're talking maybe 2-3 grubs in a 10 ft x10 ft area. Which I think should mean that even if all of these three-stacked beetles try to lay eggs, whatever in the soil that has been keeping them down would continue to do so. I've a fairly diverse Ground Patrol in place -- I've spread milky spore in the past, I have ground beetles, I have moles, I have birds. I have considered spreading predatory nematodes but have not. But I'm confident there are at least *some* resident population.

Still, I wanted to find out if there are any other JB predators that I didn't know about. And casting around the 'net, I came across this excellent article. It actually debunks milky spore, which was a surprise to me, but has additional information that was very informative. I'm particularly hopeful that this year's massive JB invasion would trigger the predatory tiphiid wasps that are mentioned to be present in this area to come and enjoy the banquet.

Japanese Beetle:
The Continuing Struggle to Achieve Successful Biological Control

Subject: A posse of Japanese beetles

applestar wrote:A brief excerpt about the tiphiid wasps from a linked article:
These two tiphiid wasps are among several natural enemies imported for the biological control ofJapanese beetle. Tiphia popilliavora is native to Japan, where it attacks the larvae of the Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica), as well as to Korea and North China. In its native areas of Korea and North China, T. vernalis is parasitic mainly on scarab species in the genus Popillia other than Japanese beetle. T. popilliavora was the first of the imported parasites to be released. Fewer than 100 adult wasps from Japan were first released in New Jersey in 1921-22, but they quickly established and their progeny and strains from Korea and China were distributed over the infested areas of 10 states by the end of 1950.

... T. vernalis was first released in New Jersey in 1925, and by 1953 over 2,000 colonies of this species were distributed over 15 states.

...The adults are 1/4" long shiny black wasps. The adults of T. vernalis emerge during May and early June and feed on aphid honeydew.

...The biology of T. popilliavora is similar to T. vernalis, but the adults emerge in August and early September and feed on nectar from the blossoms of umbelliferous plants, especially wild carrot, rather than honeydew.

...Under favorable conditions, T. vernalis can parasitize up to 60% of beetle larvae in an area and T. popilliavora somewhat less. The abundance of both species is greatly influenced by the availability of adult food sources. The females feed in the morning and then fly relatively short distances to deposit their eggs. This is why parasitism by both species tends to be greatest in grassy areas near weedy borders that contain aphids or wild carrot.
http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mbcn/kyf508.html

...I'm cautiously optimistic that my garden conditions could match the "favorable conditions" mentioned in the article. I get aphids-a-plenty in spring, and for the fall Tiphia, I have (not wild but) regular carrots blooming right now, and as luck would have it, I have been deadheading them since I'm not interested in saving carrot seeds this year since Certain *someone* gave me a HUGE stash of seeds. :() This has meant that they have been continuing to bloom. Also have celery and other umbelliferous bloomers that are blooming now and will be blooming later. 8)

One concern I do have is that I had the impression that Japanese beetles came late this year. That may mean the T. vernalis missed them altogether, and the T.popilliavora may not find the 3rd instar grubs they are looking for. :|

...on the other hand, I did recently see several severed JB heads on leaves of plats under the beans (a squash leaf in this case) I thought birds or praying mantis, but maybe it was T. vernalis larva at work. :twisted:

ETA -- ah. I have it wrong. The wasps actually sting the grubs in the soil.
After mating, female wasps burrow into the soil and search for grubs.
http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/turf/htms ... Tiphia.pdf
http://ipm.uconn.edu/documents/raw2/The ... hp?aid=167
This one has photos and descriptions that I recognize, so I think I do have the spring Tiphia in my Garden/Ground Patrol :-()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: TIPHIID WASPS, Garden Patrol Japanese Beetle Specialists

My overwintered (left in place for the biennial flowering) carrots are now blooming. :D

The tiny blossoms are COVERED with flies and wasps of various sizes. Hopefully, Tiphia vernalis (Spring Tiphia) are among them. :-() But if they want aphid honeydew, there are plenty of those around, too. :roll:

I don't know if they will also be attracted but I have 2nd year parsley that are starting to bloom as well. In the past,these have attracted beneficial wasps And flies that control caterpillars and aphids. 8)
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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