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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Title bar: Eat Yourself Sick. Click to return to home page.

Bruck found that the best way to get insects in contact with these dangerous fungi is to make a liquid solution with fungal spores (which are very, very tiny) and dip the plant roots in it.

Then when the insects go for a mouthful of delicious roots, they get close to the spores. In fact, Bruck found that these fungi grow very well near plant roots, so there are plenty of spores around to infect the insects.

Even better, these black vine weevils actually prefer the plant roots that have the fungus on them, which means they are more likely to snack on the roots that will harm them.

This is bad news for the weevils, which will––literally––eat themselves sick. But it's great news for scientists, nurseries, gardeners and anyone who appreciates beautiful, healthy plants.

Azaleas. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Arboretum.

—By Laura McGinnis, Agricultural Research Service

Button: Eating Yourself Sick
Button: Weevil Equals Pest
Button: Nursery Crimes
Button: Putting the "Die" in Diet
Button: Fatal Attraction
Button: Root for Victory
Page 7: Happy Ending
Bonus. Click here for a weevil worksheet activity.

Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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