ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT OF GRASSHOPPERS AND OTHER INSECT PESTS IN THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS
Location: Pest Management Research Unit
Title: Ecological Factors in the Inundative Use of Fungal Entomopathogens
Submitted to: Biocontrol
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 19, 2009
Publication Date: November 24, 2009
Citation: Jaronski, S. 2010. Ecological Factors in the Inundative Use of Fungal Entomopathogens. Biocontrol. 55:159-185.
Interpretive Summary: Insect pathogenic fungi such as Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, Lecanicillium species and Isaria fumosorosea have been commercialized in many countries as “mycoinsecticides” and their use has been increasing in recent years. The fungi are applied much like chemical insecticides -- as very large quantities of spores, in an effort to overcome the many environmental factors that normally prevent these fungi from creating epizootics (epidemics) among insect populations. Sometimes the fungi control an insect pest, sometimes they don’t. This review article, part of a special Issue of BioControl, deals with the many ecological factors that affect the inundative use of entomopathogenic fungi.
Fungal entomopathogens have been developed in numerous countries as biocontrol agents with more than 100 mycoinsecticide products commercially available in 2006. The chief, perhaps sole, use of these mycoinsecticides has been as inundative agents, within a chemical paradigm. Large numbers of propagules are applied in an attempt to overwhelm by brute force many of the factors that keep a pathogen in nonepizootic equilibrium with its host. This review attempts to summarize what we know about the abiotic and biotic factors that affect the efficacy of these mycoinsecticides in both foliar and soil applications. Sunlight, humidity, temperature, and phylloplane-associated factors can affect both immediate efficacy and persistence on plants. Likewise, soil texture-moisture interactions, temperature, and a host of biotic factors can affect mycoinsecticides in the soil. Despite much research, our understanding of these ecological aspects is imperfect, especially in a holistic, dynamic sense.