Insects (2020) 11 (3 - 202)

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Spela Modic, Primoz Zigon, Ales Kolmanic, Stanislav Trdan and Jaka Razinger (2020)
Evaluation of the field efficacy of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae) and synthetic insecticides for the control of western corn rootworm larvae
Insects 11 (3 - 202)
Abstract: The western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae), is an important insect pest of maize in North America and Central and Eastern Europe. In Central Europe, the larvae emerge in May and its three instars feed intensively on maize roots in June, causing plant lodging that leads to a loss of economic yield. A three-year field experiment (2016–2018) was conducted to compare the effectiveness i) of soil-applied granular insecticide based on the active ingredient tefluthrin, ii) of maize seeds dressed with thiacloprid, and iii) entomopathogenic nematodes Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae, product Dianem) against WCR larvae. An additional treatment with alcohol ethoxylate (i.e., soil conditioner) mixed with entomopathogenic nematodes was performed in 2017 and 2018 to check for any increase of entomopathogenic nematodes' effectiveness. Field tests were carried out in two fields infested naturally with a WCR pest population, one in Bucecovci (Eastern Slovenia) and the other in Smartno pri Cerkljah (northern Slovenia), exhibiting dissimilar pedo-climatic conditions and soil pest densities. The treatments were performed in five replicates per experiment in each year. The efficacy of the treatments was very similar at both locations, despite the approximately five-fold lower WCR soil pest densities in northern than in eastern Slovenia, as well as being constant over time. The largest number of WCR beetles was observed in the negative control, followed by that of beetles subjected to thiacloprid treatment (insignificant decrease taking into account the entire three-year dataset). Treatments with tefluthrin (44.1 ± 11.7%), H. bacteriophora (46.2 ± 7.4%), and H. bacteriophora + alcohol ethoxylate (49.2 ± 1.8%) significantly decreased the numbers of emerging beetles. Treatments of thiacloprid, H. bacteriophora, and H. bacteriophora + alcohol ethoxylate additionally led to significantly increased maize plant weights. Furthermore, entomopathogenic nematodes were able to persist in maize fields for almost five months at both experimental locations in silty and sandy loam soils. It was concluded that the control of WCR larvae in maize using the entomopathogenic nematode H. bacteriophora is as effective as a tefluthrin treatment, and could thus offer a sustainable Diabrotica v. virgifera biological control management option in Europe.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
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Database assignments for author(s): Stanislav Trdan, Jaka Razinger

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
evaluation - screening - selection
application technology

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Diabrotica virgifera Maize/corn (Zea mays) Slovenia
Heterorhabditis bacteriophora/Photorhabdus (entomopathogen) Diabrotica virgifera Maize/corn (Zea mays)