Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, CH-8046 Zurich

Microbial pollen beetle control: initial experience gained in Switzerland

Pollen beetle control without insecticides presents a major challenge to organic farming. There are currently no effective options available for controlling infestations in bioproduction or cultivation conforming to IP-SUISSE guidelines. An insecticidal fungusbased method was tested to assess the potential of microbial pest control strategies. Domestic isolates of Beauveria bassiana, found as natural pathogens on the pollen beetle, proved effective in the laboratory. Tests using a commercially available fungal product based on the same species of fungus also indicated a potential for pollen beetle control. More than 50 to 60 percent of the two most important species of pollen beetle were killed in the lab within two days. Under field conditions, however, the effect was significantly less and protection from beetle attack fell short of expectations. The effectiveness of optimized fungal formulations is currently being tested, and in future these may play an important part in controlling the pest in organic farming.

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