Better Greenhouse Pest Control with Fungi and Insecticide Mixes

Jenn Hoskins
4th July, 2024

Better Greenhouse Pest Control with Fungi and Insecticide Mixes

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology explored combining biological and chemical pesticides to manage greenhouse whitefly populations
  • Researchers found that using the fungi Beauveria bassiana with the insecticide spiromesifen increased whitefly mortality faster than using either treatment alone
  • The study suggests that combining biological and chemical methods can improve pest control and reduce reliance on harmful chemical pesticides
Greenhouse whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) is a significant pest worldwide, causing damage to plants and spreading viral diseases. Controlling this pest is challenging due to its resistance to many pesticides, leading greenhouse growers to rely on biological control agents. However, these biological agents often work slowly and inconsistently, necessitating the use of chemical insecticides when pest populations exceed manageable levels. A recent study by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology explored the potential of combining biological and chemical pesticides to manage T. vaporariorum populations more effectively[1]. In this study, researchers evaluated the co-application of two entomopathogenic fungi (EPF), Beauveria bassiana and Cordyceps farinosa, with the chemical insecticide spiromesifen. EPFs are fungi that can infect and kill insects, and they are considered a biological control method. Spiromesifen is a chemical insecticide known for its effectiveness against whiteflies. The researchers used an ecotoxicological mixtures model called MixTox to analyze the interactions between these agents. The study found that the interactions between the EPFs and spiromesifen varied depending on the concentrations used. These interactions could be additive (where the combined effect is equal to the sum of individual effects), synergistic (where the combined effect is greater than the sum of individual effects), or antagonistic (where the combined effect is less than the sum of individual effects). Notably, combinations of B. bassiana and spiromesifen increased the rate of whitefly mortality by five days compared to single treatments. The findings of this study align with previous research on the use of biopesticides and their interactions with chemical pesticides. For instance, a study evaluating the entomopathogenic fungus Isaria fumosorosea and the insect growth regulator buprofezin found that combined treatments were more effective in controlling the rugose spiraling whitefly than either treatment alone[2]. Similarly, another study examined the compatibility of various EPF isolates with a standardized bioassay method to ensure effective microbial control of whiteflies, highlighting the importance of reliable and repeatable testing methods[3]. The current study's results indicate that combining EPFs with chemical insecticides can be a promising strategy for integrated pest management (IPM). This approach could potentially reduce the reliance on chemical pesticides, which have been shown to cause environmental harm and lead to pesticide resistance[4]. By using a combination of biological and chemical control methods, growers can achieve more effective pest management while minimizing negative environmental impacts. Moreover, the study's use of the MixTox model to describe complex mixture interactions provides a valuable tool for understanding how different pest control agents interact. This model can help researchers and growers predict the outcomes of various combinations, allowing for more informed decisions in pest management strategies. In conclusion, the study by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology demonstrates the potential benefits of combining EPFs with chemical insecticides like spiromesifen to control greenhouse whitefly populations more effectively. The findings support the use of integrated pest management strategies that incorporate both biological and chemical methods, offering a more sustainable and effective approach to pest control.

AgricultureBiotechPlant Science


Main Study

1) Improved control of Trialeurodes vaporariorum using mixture combinations of entomopathogenic fungi and the chemical insecticide spiromesifen.

Published 3rd July, 2024

Related Studies

2) Assessing Compatibility of Isaria fumosorosea and Buprofezin for Mitigation of Aleurodicus rugioperculatus (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae): An Invasive Pest in the Florida Landscape.

3) A standardised bioassay method using a bench-top spray tower to evaluate entomopathogenic fungi for control of the greenhouse whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum.

4) Biopesticides as a promising alternative to synthetic pesticides: A case for microbial pesticides, phytopesticides, and nanobiopesticides.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙