More success for fungal control of locusts
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CTA. 1995. More success for fungal control of locusts. Spore 56. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47039
Trials in South Africa on the control of locusts with the pathogenic fungus Metarhizium flavoviride have speeded up research work. This follows trials which had been carried out in West Africa (see Spore 41). In West Africa the desert locust does...
Trials in South Africa on the control of locusts with the pathogenic fungus Metarhizium flavoviride have speeded up research work. This follows trials which had been carried out in West Africa (see Spore 41). In West Africa the desert locust does not swarm every year and this makes field testing difficult. However, in South Africa the brown locust swarms several times every year. Currently they are controlled with chemicals which are ecologically damaging. The swarming habits of the locusts in South Africa provided good opportunities for testing the fungus, which prompted Dr Roger Price of the Plant Protection Research institute to start work with Meturhizium. In the first field trials in 1994 the fungus killed off 95%, of the locusts in a swarm: the result is as good as that obtained by using chemical sprays. The disadvantage is that it took 20 days to reach the 95% level of control, although half the locusts were dead after 10 days. However, within five days, infected locusts were eating about half the amount of food that an uninfected insect would consume. Normally the fungal spores would not survive the hot dry climate associated with arid areas. That problem has been overcome by mixing the spores in a vegetable oil. This technique was developed by the International Institute of Biological Control in the UK. Suspended in the oil, the spray can be applied with normal spraying equipment. Locusts are infected on contact with the spray; it does not have to be ingested. Plant Protection Research Institute Locust & Termite Research Division Private Rag X134 Pretoria 0001, SOUTH AFRICA