Praon unicum Smith (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a naturally occurring parasitoid of a common highbush blueberry aphid in British Columbia (BC), Ericaphis fimbriata Richards (Hemiptera: Aphididae). The possibility of managing E. fimbriata using P. unicum in a mass rearing and release program has been previously suggested, however, rearing large numbers of P. unicum on E. fimbriata is not economic or practical. I investigated the consequences of using an alternative host, Myzus persicae Sulzer (Hemiptera: Aphididae), grown on pepper plants, to rear P. unicum. I found that rearing on an alternative host for many generations (~20) had a negative influence on P. unicum’s ability to oviposit in E. fimbriata; however, the alternative host did not influence the total number of offspring that emerged, male:female offspring ratio, offspring development time, or offspring size for P. unicum on E. fimbriata. The implications of using an alternative host for mass rearing P. unicum as a management strategy are discussed.
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Thesis advisor: Cory, Jenny
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