This research tested the suppressive ability of Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin alone and in combination with diatomaceous earth against the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum (Herbst). Adults did not show a dose response to B. bassiana, and the addition of diatomaceous earth (DE) did not result in a significant increase in mortality. Against larvae, however, DE at 190 mg/kg grain enhanced the efficacy of B. bassiana at all concentrations ranging from 33 to 2,700 mg of conidia per kilogram of grain. The presence of DE resulted in 17- and 16-fold decreases in the median lethal concentration of B. bassiana at 56 and 75% RH, respectively. No significant differences in larval mortality in response to B. bassiana and diatomaceous earth alone or in combination were found between 56 and 75% RH. Conidial attachment to larvae was significantly greater with 190 mg/kg DE than without it. The partial analysis of lipids taken up by DE from the larvae revealed the removal of phospholipids and long-chain fatty acids. These results support the hypothesis that diatomaceous earth enhances the efficacy of B. bassiana against larval T. castaneum, at least in part by damaging the insect cuticle, thus increasing conidial attachment and making nutrients more available to conidia for their germination.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2