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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONTROL OF ARTHROPOD PESTS OF PECAN AND PEACH Title: A comparison of application methods for suppressing the pecan weevil using beneficial fungi

Authors
item Shapiro Ilan, David
item Gardner, Wayne -
item Cottrell, Ted
item Behle, Robert
item Hudson, Will -
item Wood, Bruce

Submitted to: Pecan Grower
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 25, 2009
Publication Date: June 30, 2009
Citation: Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Gardner, W.A., Cottrell, T.E., Behle, R.W., Hudson, W.G., Wood, B.W. 2009. A comparison of application methods for suppressing the pecan weevil using beneficial fungi. Pecan Grower. 21(1):20-24.

Interpretive Summary: The pecan weevil is a key pest of pecans. The fungus Beauveria bassiana is an environmentally friendly natural biopesticide that is capable of killing insects such as the pecan weevil. One approach to controlling the weevils may be application of the fungus directed toward adult weevils as they emerge from the soil to attack nuts in the tree canopy. Our objective was to compare different application methods for suppression of pecan weevil. We compared direct application of the fungus to the to soil under the tree canopy, soil application followed by cultivation, soil application in conjunction with a cover crop (Sudan grass), direct application to the tree trunk, and application to the trunk with an ultra-violet radiation protecting adjuvant. On average weevil mortality was greater in all treatments than in the non-treated control in 2005 and 2006; > 75% average mortality was observed with the trunk application both years, and in the trunk application with UV protection in 2005. Results indicated trunk applications can produce superior efficacy relative to ground application, particularly if the ground application is followed by cultivation. Efficacy in the cover crop treatment, however, did not differ from other application approaches. The interaction between other cover crops (such as clover or other leguminous plants) and beneficial fungi, and the potential for enhancing persistence and efficacy in biological pest suppression should be explored. The fungus application appears promising, but future research should focus on the extent to which B. bassiana induced weevil mortality reduces crop damage.

Technical Abstract: The pecan weevil, Curculio caryae (Horn), is a key pest of pecans. The entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana is pathogenic to C. caryae. Our objective was to compare different application methods for suppression of C. caryae adults. Treatments included direct application of B. bassiana (GHA strain) to soil under the tree canopy, soil application followed by cultivation, soil application in conjunction with a cover crop (Sudan grass), direct application to the tree trunk, and application to the trunk with an ultra-violet radiation protecting adjuvant. Weevil mortality and signs of mycosis were greater in all treatments than in the non-treated control in 2005 and 2006; > 75% average mortality was observed with the trunk application both years, and in the trunk application with UV protection in 2005. Results indicated trunk applications can produce superior efficacy relative to ground application, particularly if the ground application is followed by cultivation. Efficacy in the cover crop treatment, however, did not differ from other application approaches. The interaction between other cover crops (such as clover or other leguminous plants) and beneficial fungi, and the potential for enhancing persistence and efficacy in biological pest suppression should be explored. Future research should focus on the extent to which B. bassiana induced C. caryae mortality reduces crop damage

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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