Researcher: Dr P Addison - 10 Jun 2016

The movement towards more environmentally friendly produced products create the need for the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly pest control strategies. These strategies should be incorporated into an integrated pest management (IPM) program. This project focusses on alternative management options to replace or supplement toxic chemical inputs for the control of katydids (“krompokkels”) and banded fruit weevils in vineyards and orchards. These insects are sporadic pests in vineyards and orchards, but appear to be on the increase. There is currently no control measures registered for katydids and the chemicals that are used are not 100% effective.    

Entomopathogenic nematodes or fungi (EPN or EPF) are deadly pathogens of insects and play a role in the natural regulation of insect populations. EPF acts as a parasite and kills or disables insects. EPN kill their hosts with the help of symbiotic bacteria carried in their intestines. Many EPN with their associated bacteria have been used as biological control agents against insect pests.  Recent research conducted at the University of Stellenbosch also indicated their potential for controlling South African grapevine and orchard pests like the vine mealybug and the banded fruit weevil. Optimizing the use of EPN strains which are effective against more than one pest, could make control options more cost-effective. EPN’s and EPF are safe for non-target organisms and for humans. Additionally, it can be mass produced and applied using standard agricultural equipment making them ideal candidates for the control of agricultural pests.

Variable results achieved with the use of EPF or EPF/EPN combinations indicate that fungi in particular still have undeveloped potential. Mainly there is a lack of understanding of their complex soil interactions and this will need to be further investigated. These pathogenic interactions are very intricate and specific to certain environmental conditions which is why there is a need to source locally adapted isolates.

The focus of this research will be on EPN and EPF in the laboratory and field applications. For katydids in particular they also aim to assess the use of parasitic wasps for future use within IPM programmes. This project aims to establish guidelines, for the use of EPN and EPF against katydids and weevils in vineyards and orchards.

Go Back

Post your comment


Be the first to comment!

Thank you!

You have successfully signed up.

Thank you!

Your post has been sent for moderation.