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Development of an attract-and-infect device for biological control of lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in poultry houses

Hassemer, Marla J., Lopes, Rogerio B., Borges, Miguel, Alves, Luis F.A., Withall, David M., Pickett, John A. ORCID:, Laumann, Raul A., Birkett, Michael A. and Blassioli-Moraes, Maria C. 2020. Development of an attract-and-infect device for biological control of lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in poultry houses. Biological Control 149 , 104326. 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2020.104326

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The lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus Panzer (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), is the most important pest in poultry production systems worldwide. Adults and larvae serve as alternative low-quality food for chickens and as a vehicle for animal pathogens resulting in significant economic losses for farmers. Control of this pest is usually performed through insecticide application during the interval between chicken flocks. However, due to the cryptic behaviour of this pest, chemical control is usually not effective. With the aim of developing a sustainable approach to control A. diaperinus, we evaluated integration of the A. diaperinus aggregation pheromone with a highly virulent strain (Unioeste 04) of the fungus Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. (Ascomycota: Cordycipitaceae) using an attract-and-infect device. Significant levels of A. diaperinus mortality and lower numbers of offspring (larvae) were observed in laboratory experiments using Unioeste 04. Horizontal transmission of the Unioeste 04 strain through contaminated living A. diaperinus and cadavers was also observed. In field experiments in commercial poultry houses, a significant level of A. diaperinus mortality was observed in Unioeste 04-treated arenas. The results show that the A. diaperinus aggregation pheromone can be used as an attractant in a device impregnated with infective fungal propagules, increasing adult infection and enhancing disease spread. In addition, the use of the microbial control agent inside the device allows the fungus to remain effective for longer periods in the adverse conditions of the poultry house environment.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1049-9644
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 31 May 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 00:14

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