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An attract and kill tactic for click beetles based on Metarhizium brunneum and a new formulation of sex pheromone.

Kabaluk, J.T., Lafontaine, J.-P., and Borden, J.H. (2015). "An attract and kill tactic for click beetles based on Metarhizium brunneum and a new formulation of sex pheromone.", Journal of Pest Science, 88(4), pp. 707-716. doi : 10.1007/s10340-015-0661-3  Access to full text


Wireworms are a serious agricultural pest, with control efforts targeting soil-dwelling larvae almost exclusively. They appear yearly for a brief period as adult click beetles to mate and oviposit, and as adults, possess qualities that make them good candidates for an attract and kill control tactic: (i) susceptibility to certain entomopathogenic fungi; and (ii) attraction of males to female sex pheromones. To expand the range of wireworm control options, our study aimed to determine if banded applications of a new granular formulation of Agriotes obscurus L. (Coleoptera: Elateridae) pheromone would increase beetle mortality when applied with banded Metarhizium brunneum Petch (Ascomycota: Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae) LRC112. Pheromone granules applied at 12.7 kg/ha (1 % wt/wt 1:1 geranyl hexanoate:geranyl octanoate) together with rice conidiated with 2 × 1014 conidia/ha of M. brunneum LRC112 reduced beetle recapture by 98.2 % compared to M. brunneum alone. A lower rate (2 × 1013 conidia/ha) of M. brunneum with pheromone granules reduced recapture by 82.6 % compared to the lower rate alone. A significantly greater number of beetles aggregated at pheromone bands to acquire lethal doses of conidia in as little as 6 h, with conidia dose remaining unchanged up to 54 h later. Conidia dose acquired by beetles corresponded to treatment and was positively related to total beetle mortality and speed of death. Attracting and killing click beetles might represent a new tactical approach to control wireworm larvae by reducing click beetle fecundity. We expect the pheromone granules to also to have utility for click beetle mating disruption.

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