Beauveria bassiana for the control of Sunn Pest (Eurygaster integriceps) (Hemiptera: Scutelleridae) and aspects of the insect's daily activity relevant to a mycoinsecticide
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A series of investigations was carried out at ICARDA during April–June 2004 and May–June 2005 to investigate the use of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana to control Eurygaster integriceps and to determine aspects of the insect's biology that could be relevant to control with the fungus. Application in 2004 of an oil-based formulation of B. bassiana showed distribution of the spray decreasing from the top of the wheat to the bottom, although the proportion of tillers with coverage at the base was still 80%. Seventy percent of Sunn Pest had received direct hits, with the highest amount on the dorsal surface, followed by the ventral surface, then the legs and antennae. Mortality of field-treated, then laboratory-maintained insects, ranged from 47.6% for insects exposed only to the B. bassiana spray, 74.2% for unsprayed insects exposed to treated wheat and 86.4% for insects receiving direct spray and being exposed to treated wheat. Some field results demonstrated mortality. Mortality assessments following the 2005 treatments were conducted solely in the field, there was no apparent effect upon Sunn Pest numbers. The majority of studies on Sunn Pest biology were carried out on untreated insects outside the trial plots. Different assessment methods resulted in varying estimates of adults and juveniles in the field. The numbers of Sunn Pest found and the proportion of these at the top of the wheat crop, declined after early morning and increased again in the early evening, suggesting sheltering deeper in the crop or in the soil during the middle part of the day. Mobility and location of marked insects was followed in micro-plots and by mark and recapture studies, demonstrating a range of activities, from movement around the crop for a number of metres, including contact with numerous tillers to almost total immobility; Sunn Pest generally avoided movement on the soil. The potential for Sunn Pest control with a mycoinsecticide and how Sunn Pest behaviour is relevant to a mycoinsecticide application are discussed.