Parasitic wasp a natural predator of soybean gall midge

Researchers have discovered a natural predator of soybean gall midge that could prove beneficial to managing the pest.

Amelia Lindsey is an associate professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota and says gall midge has become a serious problem for soybean farmers because it feeds inside the plant.

“And to this point there haven’t been a lot of avenues to control this pest with sort of traditional control approaches like chemicals. So we started exploring biological control options.”

She tells Brownfield to identify natural enemies of gall midge, they collected infested soybeans from a Minnesota farm.

“Then you sort of wait to see what comes out of them, and what came out was a number of these small parasitoid wasps which nobody had seen before. But we know close relatives of this species and what they do is they lay their eggs inside the juveniles of the gall midge.”

As the wasps develop, Lindsey says it kills the unwanted pest.

“And in a number of agricultural systems, species like this can provide really good control of your pests.”

She says while this is an exciting breakthrough, research is still needed on how often the wasps attack soybean gall midge and how widespread the potential beneficial insect is across the Midwest.

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