The parasitoids need for sweets: sugars in mass rearing and biological control

F.L. Waeckers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


It is generally accepted that most parasitoids and many predators require sugar sources, such as nectar or honeydew, to cover their energetic needs. Protocols for the mass rearing and release of these natural enemies often take these sugar requirements into account. Nevertheless, the choice of food sources and the methods of application are usually based on trial and error, due to the fact that basic information on food ecology of beneficial insects is scarce. In this chapter, an overview is presented of the field of parasitoid food ecology. After discussing the various ways in which parasitoid fitness can benefit from sugar feeding, various natural sugar sources are compared in respect of their function in nature and their suitability as parasitoid nutrition. Given the fact that the choice of the optimal food supplement depends on characteristics of both the food source and its consumer, either side of the equation is addressed. Sugar sources are compared in respect of their composition and the volume produced. Parasitoid characteristics addressed include taste perception,
digestive efficiency and food-foraging behaviour. It is argued that the field of food ecology can help in selecting food supplements for use in parasitoid rearing as well as application in biological control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuality control and production of biological control agents
Subtitle of host publicationTheory and testing procedures.
EditorsJ.C. van Lenteren
Place of PublicationWallingford
PublisherCABI Publishing
ISBN (Print)9780851996882
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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