SOME REPRODUCTIVE PARAMETERS OF A WILD POPULATION OF Bracon hebetor say. (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) PARASITOID OF Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller, 1839) (Lepidoptera, Pyralidae) IN STORED DATES IN OUARGLA
Bracon hebetor Say, a versatile parasitic wasp known for its adaptability and gregarious behavior, plays a crucial role in controlling lepidopteran pests in various environments. This study aimed to investigate the reproductive success of a wild population of Bracon hebetor within a storage facility in Ouargla, Algeria. The study focused on two date varieties, Itim and Ghars, which were stored in crates and cloth bags, respectively. The parameters assessed included the infestation rate by date moth larvae, parasitism rate, and life cycle stages of Bracon hebetor in the dates. The results revealed a higher infestation rate of Itim dates by Ectomyelois ceratoniae compared to Ghars dates. Furthermore, 39% of infested Itim dates and 23% of infested Ghars dates contained Bracon hebetor individuals. The reproductive success of Bracon hebetor was relatively low, as indicated by the presence of a higher number of dead pupae in both date varieties. These findings contribute to the understanding of dynamics of the Bracon hebetor and its effectiveness in controlling date moth populations. Itim dates are more susceptible to infestation, emphasizing the need for targeted pest management strategies. This research provides valuable insights for the development of effective date moth control measures in date production systems. Further research is warranted to explore these factors.