Dynamic of bruchid egg-laying in cowpea-based cropping systems: importance for determining an optimal release period of the oophagous parasitoid Uscana lariophaga Steffan (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae)

Abstract In West Africa, the pods of cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp., are often infested with eggs of the main bruchid species, Callosobruchus maculatus Fab. and Bruchidius atrolineatus Pic in the fields resulting in significant post-harvest losses. An experiment was carried out from 2010 to 2011, at Gampela in central Burkina Faso, to identify the optimal period of the oophagous parasitoid (Uscana lariophaga Stef.) releases in cowpea –based intercropping systems, in order to minimize or supress the initial infestation of cowpea pods. During both years of study a relatively low number of bruchid eggs was noticed on the pods (60-130 eggs/100 pods). However, there was significantly a larger number of eggs laid in monocrops in comparison to intercrops. Natural global parasitism of bruchid eggs by Uscana lariophaga ranged 20-45% but was significantly higher in intercrops where parasitism peaks >50% were sometimes reached. Comparative analysis of bruchid egg laying and their parasitism showed that cowpea infestation gradually increased whereas parasitism decreased. Given these results we discuss and suggest that cowpea be produced in millet intercropping systems and combined with releases of U lariophaga in the fields specifically during cowpea pod setting.

Keywords Bruchid egg laying dynamic; Cowpea, Egg parasitism, Intercropping, Parasitoid releases.

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