First record of a naturally occurring bio-agent of the red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus in Palestine


Abstract: Red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus is becoming a serious insect pest on date palm in the Mediterranean Region and in the Palestinian Territories. Naturally occurring enemies collected from several localities could have great potential in controlling invasive insect species. An indigenous strain of Beauveria bassiana (Ascomycota: Clavicipitaceae) isolated from naturally infected Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) larvae, pupae and adults was collected from several sites from the northern part of the West Bank. Identification and pathogenicity tests were evaluated under laboratory and field conditions on module insect pests reared in the laboratories of the Kadoorie Agriculture Research Centre (KARC)/ PTUK, West-Bank/Palestinian Territories. Laboratory results showed that indigenous strains of B. bassiana can infect target insect pests tested (LC50 was 120-122 conidia per ml). Field preventive bioassays on apple trees infected with aphid, confirmed the potential of this strain as a biological control agent.

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