Commercial formulations and unformulated conidia of Beauveria bassiana strain GHA were applied to field-grown plants and artificially infested with Trichoplusia ni (Hübner) larvae to compare the relative insecticidal activity resulting from direct spray contact with insecticidal activity due to contact with dry spray residue. In general, applications to cabbage, Brassica oleracea L., resulted in nearly equal mortalities when comparing insects exposed to direct spray contact with those exposed by spray residue, suggesting a potential benefit by improving formulations to extend residual activity. For applications to beans, Phaseolus vulgaris L., direct spray contact provided significant insect mortality, but mortality due to residual contact was generally not different than the untreated control. In contrast to the differences observed for larvae exposed in the field, larvae exposed in laboratory bioassays to leaf disks collected from the same treated cabbage and bean plants (residual contact exposure) resulted in nearly identical mortalities. Field applications of Beauveria showed rapid loss of activity, expressed as a loss of conidia viability and loss of insecticidal activity during the first 8 h after application. Evidence of significant mortality by residual contact and the rapid loss of insecticidal activity with field exposure support additional research to improve formulations to extend the residual activity of fungal biopesticides.
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Vol. 99 • No. 4