Chemical control of house flies in poultry production facilities is becoming increasingly difficult due to insecticide resistance and regulatory constraints. Biopesticides based on entomopathogenic fungi could provide an alternative approach. Here we evaluated population control potential of two fungal pathogens, Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae. Cohorts of adult flies were established in large plastic boxes in the laboratory and were exposed to residues of oil-formulated fungal conidia sprayed on strips of plastic sheeting attached to the box walls. Exposure to the biopesticide barrier treatments caused 100% mortality in adult populations within 8–16 days, depending on the fungal species. In contrast, control flies survived until 96–110 days. Additionally, fungal infections caused 13–20% reduction in egg viability and >70% reduction in fecundity of flies prior to death. The combined lethal and pre-lethal impacts resulted in 21- to 26-fold reduction in basic reproductive rate in the fungus-exposed populations relative to controls. Based on these promising proof-of-principle results, further research is currently under way to determine the feasibility of developing a biopesticide product for operational use.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Insect Science