To profitably market a natural enemy, an insectary must succeed in a series of activities.
Augmentative biological control starts with the discovery of a natural enemy that research suggests may be effective. The natural enemy must attack an important pest efficiently, be easily reared under mass production conditions, able to survive shipping, and be competitive in price with other forms of pest control available to growers.
Some species, such as the whitefly parasitoid E. formosa, can be reared cheaply using their natural host on a living plant. In other cases, costs of production or the scale of production are improved by switching to an alternative rearing species other than the target pest. Most Trichogramma wasp species are grown on the eggs of moths that feed on stored grain, rather than on eggs of the target moths themselves, because colonies of grain-feeding moths can be reared much more cheaply.
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