The Red Gum Lerp Psyllid in California

A Parasitoid Natural Enemy of the Lerp Psyllid Is Now Being Released

We are now rearing in our insectary and releasing at selected field sites the encyrtid parasitoid wasp, Psyllaephagus bliteus. This wasp appears to be an effective control agent and its life cycle is specific to the psyllid. The wasp is very small (about 2 mm or 1/10 inch long), and is harmless to humans and other animals except the psyllids.

The life cycle of this parasitoid is as follows:
(All photos by Jack Kelly Clark)

1.) The adult male and female wasps mate, and the females hunt for psyllid nymphs of a suitable size (medium to large).

The adult male parasitoid next
to psyllid eggs and lerp:

Quarantine door with L. Schmidt, Quarantine Officer
parasitized nymph and lerp This adult female parasitoid searches for lerps with psyllid immatures of suitable size. The female can be distinquished from the male by different antennae and an ovipositor extending from its abdomen.

 

2.) The adult female wasp lays an egg inside a suitable psyllid nymph; the egg hatches and consumes the psyllid from within. The psyllid shell with live wasp immature inside is referred to as a 'mummy'.

Psyllid mummy after a parasitoid
has emerged (lerp removed):


capsule with rglp nymph and emerged parasitod


3.) After about two weeks, the wasp immatures pupate to adults, and chew a hole in the lerp covering to emerge and continue the cycle.

 

 

Holes in lerps made by emerging wasps.

Read the U. C. Berkeley Press Release on the of the parasitoid biological control program HERE.

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