The entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum (Petch) strain F52 (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae) is able to produce environmentally persistent microsclerotia (hyphal aggregates). Microsclerotia of strain F52 produced as granules and incorporated into hydromulch (hydro-seeding straw, water, and a natural glue) provides a novel mycoinsecticide that could be sprayed onto urban, forest, or orchard trees. We tested this formulation against adult Asian longhorned beetles (Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky)) using three substrates (moistened bark, dry bark, absorbent bench liner) sprayed with a low rate (9 microsclerotia granules/cm2) of hydromulch. Median survival times of beetles continuously exposed to sprayed moist bark or absorbent liner were 17.5 and 19.5 d, respectively. Beetles exposed to sprayed dry bark, which had a lower measured water activity, lived significantly longer. When moist bark pieces were sprayed with increased rates of microsclerotia granules in hydromulch, 50% died by 12.5 d at the highest application rate, significantly sooner than beetles exposed to lower application rates (16.5–17.5 d). To measure fecundity effects, hydromulch with or without microsclerotia was sprayed onto small logs and pairs of beetles were exposed for a 2-wk oviposition period in containers with 98 or 66% relative humidity. At 98% humidity, oviposition in the logs was highest for controls (18.3±1.4 viable offspring per female) versus 3.9±0.8 for beetles exposed to microsclerotia. At 66% humidity, fecundities of controls and beetles exposed to microsclerotia were not significantly different. This article presents the first evaluation of M. brunneum microsclerotia in hydromulch applied for control of an arboreal insect pest.
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Vol. 108 • No. 2