This study, consisting of three experiments, was designed to assess whether diatomaceous earth, when applied to the surface of growing media, reduces adult fungus gnat Bradysia sp. nr. coprophila (Diptera: Sciaridae) emergence or inhibits the females from laying eggs; and whether fungus gnat adults are attracted to the fungus Trichoderma harzianum T-22 (Rifai strain KRL-AG2) under laboratory conditions. In the first two experiments, diatomaceous earth was applied at two different thicknesses (3.1 and 6.3 mm) and conditions (dry and moist) to the surface of a growing medium (Universal SB 300 Mix) after the growing medium had been artificially inoculated with second or third instars of fungus gnats, or before female fungus gnat adults were released into each deli squat container. In the third experiment, preparations of the fungus T. harzianum at the highest recommended label rate (0.889 kg/m3) were amended into the growing medium and processed 24, 48, or 72 h before use in a series of three two-choice trials with a two-armed experimental arena. In the first two experiments, the dry or moist layers of diatomaceous earth, in general, did not affect fungus gnats in terms of preventing adult emergence or egg laying by the females. During the course of these experiments, we observed that the diatomaceous earth dry treatments expanded as a result of absorbing moisture from the growing medium, creating fissures that allowed the fungus gnat larvae to pupate and females to lay eggs. In the third experiment, fungus gnat adults were not attracted to the T. harzianum treatments in any of the trials.
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Vol. 100 • No. 4