The pecan weevil, Curculio caryae (Horn), is a key pest of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch], Current control recommendations are based on chemical insecticide applications. Microbial control agents such as the entomopathogenic nematode, Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) and the fungus Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin occur naturally in southeastern U.S. pecan orchards and have shown promise as alternative control agents for C. caryae. Conceivably, the chemical and microbial agents occur simultaneously within pecan orchards or might be applied concurrently. The objective of this study was to determine the interactions between two chemical insecticides that are used in commercial C. caryae control (i.e., carbaryl and cypermethrin applied below field rates) and the microbial agents B. bassiana and S. carpocapsae. In laboratory experiments, pecan weevil larval or adult mortality was assessed after application of microbial or chemical treatments applied singly or in combination (microbial chemical agent). The nature of interactions (antagonism, additivity, or synergy) in terms of weevil mortality was evaluated over 9 d (larvae) or 5 d (adults). Results for B. bassiana indicated synergistic activity with carbaryl and antagonism with cypermethrin in C. caryae larvae and adults. For S. carpocapsae, synergy was detected with both chemicals in C. caryae larvae, but only additive effects were detected in adult weevils. Our results indicate that the chemical-microbial combinations tested are compatible with the exception of B. bassiana and cypermethrin. In addition, combinations that exhibited synergistic interactions may provide enhanced C. caryae control in commercial field applications; thus, their potential merits further exploration.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1