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DEVELOPMENT OF METARHIZIUM SPP. FOR THE CONTROL OF GRASSHOPPERS AND LOCUSTS

  • C.J. Lomer (a1), C. Prior (a2) and C. Kooyman (a3)

Abstract

Four research programmes are investigating the entomopathogenic fungal genera Metarhizium and Beauveria for locust and grasshopper control in Africa. In the LUBILOSA programme, surveys for pathogen isolates revealed a morphologically distinctive Metarhizium flavoviride Gams and Rozsypal attacking acridoids in West Africa, Madagascar, and elsewhere. Metarhizium anisopliae (Metschnikoff) Sorokin isolates with virulence to acridoids were also obtained, including several from non-orthopteran hosts. Natural epizootics of both genera are rare in acridoid populations, but do occur. A standardized screening method discriminated virulent from non-virulent isolates. The great majority of the most virulent isolates were from the acridoid group of M. flavoviride. A Niger isolate chosen for development from this group had low virulence to honey bees and parasitic Hymenoptera and was not infective to insects in several other orders. Field tests were carried out on formulations of oil mixtures, using ULV application rates of 1–2 L/ha and 2–5 × 1012 conidia per hectare. In preliminary tests, target insects were sprayed successfully in small field arenas and in large cages. Trials in 1993 on variegated grasshopper gave an approx. 90% reduction in field populations after 15 days. Trials on various acridids, predominantly Hieroglyphus daganensis Krauss, in dense grass in northern Benin showed slower mortality, although up to 70% population reduction was achieved. Trials using a vehicle-mounted ULV sprayer (the Ulva-Mast) in open grassland in Niger gave >90% mortality in samples of mixed acridids. In Mali, a Malian isolate of M. flavoviride was shown to be slightly more virulent than the standard Niger isolate; both isolates gave significant population reductions against nymphs of Oedaleus senegalensis Krauss and Kraussella amabile (Krauss) in 1-ha plots. Successful small-scale field trials have also been carried out using the standard M. flavoviride isolate in South Africa against brown locust and in Australia using an Australian isolate against wingless grasshopper. In Mauritania, a trial using the Niger isolate against desert locust nymph bands gave up to 90% mortality in caged samples by day 9 after spraying. The uncaged treated bands were completely destroyed by predators while untreated bands fledged. Oil-based ULV formulations of M. flavoviride are capable of causing high mortality in the field populations of all acridoids against which they have been field tested and show great promise for development as components of IPM strategies for these pests.

Quatre programmes de recherche sont actuellement en cours pour étudier les propriétés entomopathogènes des champignons des genres Metarhizium et Beauveria dans la lutte biologique contre les criquets en Afrique. Dans le cadre du programme LUBILOSA, la recherche de pathogènes a révélé une forme distinctive de Metarhizium flavoviride Gams et Rozsypal parasite des acridoïdes d'Afrique de l'Ouest, de Madagascar et d'autres endroits. Des isolats de M. anisopliae (Metschnikoff) Sorokin virulents pour les acridoïdes ont également été obtenus, dont plusieurs provenant d'hôtes qui ne sont pas des orthoptères. Les épizooties causées par ces deux genres sont rares chez les populations naturelles d'acridoïdes, mais elles ont déjà été observées. Une méthode classique de tri a permis de séparer les isolats virulents des isolats non virulents. La grande majorité des isolats les plus virulents appartiennent au groupe de M. flavoviride recueillis sur les acrodoïdes. Un isolat de ce groupe provenant du Niger, choisi pour être développé, a une faible virulence pour les abeilles et les hyménoptères parasites et n'est pas infectieux pour plusieurs autres ordres d'insectes. Des tests en nature ont permis d'essayer plusieurs émulsions de préparations ultra-bas volume (ULV) de 1–2 L/ha et 2–5 × 1012 conidies per hectare. Au cours de tests préliminaires, les insectes cibles ont été vaporisés avec succès dans de petites arènes, en nature et dans de grandes cages. En 1993, des tests sur Zonocerus variegatus (L.) ont résulté en une réduction d'environ 90% des populations naturelles après 15 jours. Des tests sur divers acridiens, surtout Hieroglyphus daganensis Krauss, dans les prairies herbeuses denses du nord du Bénin ont été plus lents à entraîner la mortalité, mais ont réduit la population de près de 70%. Des essais au moyen d'un vaporisateur de volumes ultra-bas (le Ulva-Mast) monté sur un véhicule en prairie ouverte, au Niger, ont entraîné une mortalité supérieure à 90% d'échantillons composés de mélanges d'acridiens. Au Mali, un isolat malien de M. flavoviride s'est avéré légèrement plus virulent que l'isolat standard du Niger; les deux isolats ont occasionné d'importantes réductions des populations de larves d'Oedaleus senegalensis Krauss et de Krausella amabile (Krauss) dans des parcelles de 1 ha. Des tests en nature, à petite échelle, de l'isolat standard de M. flavoviride ont été fructueux en Afrique du Sud contre Locustana pardalina Walker et l'utilisation d'un isolat australien dans les mêmes conditions a permis la réduction des populations de Phaulacridium vittatum (SjÖstedt) en Australie. En Mauritanie, l'essai de l'isolat du Niger contre des groupes de larves du Criquet pèlerin a entraîné la mortalité de près de 90% des larves en cage après 9 jours. Les rassemblements de larves en liberté qui ont été traités ont été entièrement détruits par des prédateurs alors que les larves non traitées ont atteint le stade d'envol. Des préparations ULV à base d'huile de M. flavoviride peuvent entraîner une forte mortalité au sein des populations naturelles de tous les acridiens qui ont servi au cours des expériences et il s'agit donc là d'une méthode très prometteuse comme stratégie de lutte intégrée contre ces insectes. [Traduit par la Rédaction]

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DEVELOPMENT OF METARHIZIUM SPP. FOR THE CONTROL OF GRASSHOPPERS AND LOCUSTS

  • C.J. Lomer (a1), C. Prior (a2) and C. Kooyman (a3)

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