Lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer), emergence from North Carolina field soils was evaluated in a controlled experiment simulating land application of turkey litter and again in field studies. Adult lesser mealworms were buried in central North Carolina Cecil red clay at depths of 0, 8, 15, 23, and 30 cm and the beetles emerging from the soil counted 1, 3, 7, 10, 13, 17, 21, 24, and 28 d after burial. Beetles emerged from all depths and differences among depths were not significant. Beetles survived at least 28 d buried in the soil at depths ≤30 cm. In seasonal field studies, lesser mealworm emergence from clay soil with poultry litter incorporated by disk, mulch and plow was compared with emergence from plots with no incorporation. Incorporation significantly reduced beetle emergence when poultry litter containing large numbers of beetles was applied to clay field soils during the summer (F = 3.45; df = 3, 143; P = 0.018). Although mechanical incorporation of poultry litter reduced beetle emergence relative to the control, greatest reductions were seen in plowed treatments. Beetle activity was reduced after land application of litter during colder months. Generally, lesser mealworm emergence decreased with time and few beetles emerged from the soil 28 d after litter was applied. Similarly, mechanical incorporation of poultry litter into sandy soils reduced beetle emergence (F = 4.06; df = 3, 143; P < 0.008). In sandy soils typical of eastern North Carolina, disk and plow treatments significantly reduced beetle emergence compared with control.
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Vol. 98 • No. 1