Field application on Metarhizium anisopliae for management of root weevils in berry crops

Project Code BPI07-090

Project Lead

Kenna MacKenzie  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Objective

To develop PMRA compliant value data to support label claims for Met52 to control root weevils in berry crops

Adults of several species of root weevils (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Entiminae) are parthenogenic, highly fecund and flightless. Larvae feed on plant roots causing economic damage to crops including coniferous trees, rhododendrons and azaleas, berries and grapes. Adults often winter in surrounding vegetation and move into fields from the edges. Root weevils are pests a number of berry crops in Canada including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. In strawberry production across Canada, while often considered occasional pests, root weevils can build to population levels which necessitate field destruction. In British Columbia, root weevil adults are also becoming a problem as contaminants of harvested highbush blueberries and raspberries. There are very few chemical options for management of root weevils in Canada, and those products available (carbofuran, malathion, azinphos-methyl in British Columbia) are of environmental concern. Low-risk products that target larvae are needed by the berry industries across Canada. Entomophagous fungi such as Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana are effective insect control agents and are registered for various pests, including root weevils, of agricultural crops in many Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Numerous studies have demonstrated Metarhizium anisopliae F52 (also know as 275-86 and Bio1020 in Europe) to be highly pathogenic to Otiorhynchus sulcatus and efficacious in containerized nursery crops. Other M. anisopliae isolates have demonstrated efficacy against vine weevils in strawberry. Novozymes Biologicals is currently seeking registration in Canada of Met52, a commercially available insecticide based on M. anisopliae (strain F52). This product is registered in the United States for root weevil control in non-food use. In this project, field efficacy trials in support of registration of Met52 in Canada on berry crops will be carried out.

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