Exploiting vine weevil behaviour to disseminate an entomopathogenic fungus
Abstract: Control of adult vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) is currently reliant on the use ofinsecticides. However, using insecticide applications targeted against this pest is difficult, as theyneed to be applied at dusk, and are often incompatible with integrated pest managementprogrammes. This study investigated the potential of a novel control strategy that uses artificialrefuges containing spores of an entomopathogenic fungus and exploits vine weevil behaviour todisseminate the pathogen throughout weevil populations.Preliminary experiments identified a simple plastic crawling insect trap as a suitableartificial vine weevil refuge. Subsequent semi-field experiments using fluorescent powders inplace of an entomopathogenic fungus spore formulation showed that vine weevil aggregationbehaviour and movement between refuges effectively disseminated the powders throughoutweevil populations.