Beauveria bassiana is a fungus that grows naturally in soils throughout the world and acts as a parasite on arthropod species, causing white muscardine disease. The species get the name from the Italian entomologist Agostino Bassi, who discovered it in 1815.
Unlike bacterial and viral pathogens of insects, Beauveria and other fungal pathogens infect the insect with contact and do not need to be consumed by their host to cause infection. When spores of this fungus come in contact with the cuticle (skin) of susceptible insects, they germinate and grow directly through the cuticle to the inner body of their host. Here the fungus proliferates throughout the insect’s body, producing toxins and draining the insect of nutrients, eventually killing it.
Therefore, once the fungus has killed its host, it grows back out through the softer portions of the cuticle, covering the insect with a layer of white mold (hence the name white muscadine disease). This downy mold produces millions of new infective spores that are released to the environment.
The microorganism is not pathogenic to humans. When applied to the plants it will only grow on/in the host organism and if toxins are produced they will only be contained inside the host, the dead host insect will either fall off or will be washed off. Therefore, applications to areas where bees are actively foraging should be avoided. Beauveria products should not be applied to water, as they are potentially toxic to fish.
The start and frequency of application varies with the pest and their susceptible life stages. In all cases, insect monitoring programs should be in place.
The rate at which Beauveria spores kill their host is dependent on temperature. At a constant 22ºC, small potato beetle larvae are killed in 3-5 days. The frequency of applications also depends on the pest and the crop. For greenhouse pest problems, applications every 5-7 days are recommended.
Beauveria bassiana help to control some pests as: Aphids, Whiteflies, Mealybugs, Psyllids (Lygus bugs, Chinch bug), Grasshoppers, Stink bugs, Thrips, Termites, Fire ants, Flies, Stem Borers (Fungal gnats, Shoreflies), Beetles (Coffee borer beetle, Colorado potato beetle, Mexican bean beetle, Japanese beetle, Boll weevil, Cereal leaf beetle, Bark beetles, Black vine weevil, Strawberry root weevil), Caterpillars (European corn borer, Codling moth, Douglas fir tussock moth, invasive Silkworms), Mites, etc.
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