Chalkbrood, a fungal disease in bees, is caused by several species of Ascosphaera. A. aggregata is a major mortality factor in populations of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata (F.) (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) used in commercial alfalfa seed production. Four formulated fungicides, Benlate 50 WP, Captan, Orbit, and Rovral 50 WP were tested in the laboratory for efficacy against hyphal growth of A. aggregata cultures. The same fungicides, with the addition of Rovral 4 F, were tested for their effects on incidence of chalkbrood disease, and toxicity to M. rotundata larvae. Benlate, Rovral 50 WP, and Rovral 4 F reduced incidence of chalkbrood with minimal mortality on larval bees. Benlate and Rovral 50 WP also reduced hyphal growth. Orbit was effective in reducing hyphal growth, but it did not reduce incidence of chalkbrood and was toxic to bee larvae. Captan was not effective in reducing hyphal growth or chalkbrood incidence, and it was toxic to bee larvae. Fungicides that reduce incidence of chalkbrood and larval mortality in this laboratory study are candidates for further study for chalkbrood control.
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Vol. 101 • No. 3