Insect Parasites and Ideal Characteristics of Parasites
Parasitic insect are those which live in close association with other living organism called the ‘host’, from whom it derives the material essential for the existence without conferring any benefit to it (host).
Ideal Characteristics of Parasites:
1. The parasite should have high searching capacity of host and utilize the host.
2. It should be fairly host specific in feeding rather than polyphagous i.e. restriction in feeding habit to a relatively few species. This implies high degree of adaptation.
3. It should be primarily to its high potential reproductive capacity, ultimately high fecundity i.e. potential for rate of increase.
4. Ability to occupy all the host inhabited niches and to survive well.
5. Adaptation to broad range of climatic conditions.
6. The parasite species should be amenable to culture in the insectory.
7. It must be efficient to bring about the death of the host.
8. It should not become a plant feeder under any conditions.
9. It should not be hyperparasites or harmful to the beneficial species.
10. Good parasite must complete with other species of natural enemies successfully for occupying food, space and shelter and must destroy the pest population within short time even at high host density.
11. There should be synchronization of life cycles of the parasite and the host.