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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT OF INSECT PESTS OF TEMPERATE TREE FRUIT CROPS Title: Formulation to Enhance the Insecticidal Activity of Entomopathogenic Nematodes for Control of Insect Pests of Orchards

item Lacey, Lawrence
item Shapiro Ilan, David

Submitted to: International Colloquium on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2010
Publication Date: July 8, 2010
Citation: Lacey, L.A., Shapiro Ilan, D.I. 2010. Formulation to Enhance the Insecticidal Activity of Entomopathogenic Nematodes for Control of Insect Pests of Orchards. International Colloquium on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control Proceedings. July 11-14, 2010, Trabzon, Turkey. pp. 20-27.

Interpretive Summary: Codling moth is the most serious pest of apple and pear fruits worldwide. The codling moth overwinters in the larval stage, and mortality of these larvae would provide protection to apples and pears early in the growing season. The lesser peach tree borers is a serious pest of peach trees in the southeastern U.S. and bores into limbs of peach trees. With adequate moisture and temperature, insect-specific nematodes might provide effective control of both of these tree fruit insect pests. Researchers at the USDA-ARS, Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, WA and the S.E. Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, GA are developing and evaluating formulations of insect-specific nematodes for control of these insect pests in apple and peach orchards. Information is summarized and presented on the positive effects of formulating infective stages of nematodes for controlling cocooned codling moth larvae and peach tree borer in orchards, by extended maintenance of adequate moisture with a formulation material used in the application of the nematodes. Formulation of the nematodes in anti-desiccant agents to retard drying of the nematodes significantly improves the killing of moth larvae. This information might provide the formulation methods needed to produce applications of insect-specific nematodes as an alternative to chemical insecticide control of the pests in commercial orchards.

Technical Abstract: Extended shelf life and rapid dispersion of entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) infective juveniles (IJs) in spray suspensions were the principal objectives of earlier EPN formulation development. Subsequently, formulation of EPNs for enhanced insecticidal control in greenhouses and field has been investigated by numerous researchers for control of several insect pests. However, there are few publications on the formulation of EPNs for improved control of orchard pests. Novel formulations that that slow desiccation of IJs are being developed that will facilitate increased use of EPNs as microbial control agents. For example, a sprayable gel substantially improved EPN efficacy for control of the lesser peachtree borer, Synanthedon pictipes, on peach limbs. Control of overwintering cocooned codling moth, Cydia pomonella, larvae would drastically reduced damage caused by the moth following emergence in the spring. A wood flour foam formulation and formulated EPN infected-hosts, caused superior control of overwintering larvae on tree trunks and in mulch, respectively. These new formulations (e.g., sprayable gels or foams) may have widespread benefits for EPN application, particularly for targeting pests that attack the tree aboveground. EPNs and other microbial control agents are ready made components of integrated management of orchard pest insects on a sustainable basis.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014