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Nuclear polyhedrosis virus as a biological control agent for Malacosoma americanum (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae).
Progar-RA; Rinella-MJ; Fekedulegn-D; Butler-L
J Appl Entomol 2010 Sep; 134(8):641-646
In addition to damaging trees, the eastern tent caterpillar is implicated in early fetal loss and late-term abortion in horses. In a field study, we evaluated the potential biological control of the caterpillar using eastern tent caterpillar nuclear polyhedrosis virus (ETNPV), a naturally occurring virus that is nearly species-specific. Egg masses were hatched and second instar larvae were fed virus-inoculated foliage to propagate the virus in vivo. Then, a viral pesticide was formulated at concentrations of 104, 106 and 108 polyhedral inclusion bodies per ml. The pesticide was applied to foliage on which second, third and fourth instar caterpillars were feeding. When the majority of surviving larvae reached the sixth instar, colonies were collected and the surviving caterpillars counted. Mean numbers of surviving caterpillars per treatment were compared via 95% bootstrap confidence intervals. The data indicate second instar caterpillars were highly susceptible to the virus, but only at the highest concentration tested. Third instar caterpillars were also somewhat susceptible to high virus concentrations, while fourth instar caterpillars were fairly resistant. Our data provide the strongest evidence to date that ETNPV can be propagated, harvested and refined for formulation as a biological control agent for eastern tent caterpillar. Its use on this insect may be merited in circumstances where landowners and managers need to protect trees and horses.
Viral-diseases; Viral-infections; Pesticides; Insecticides; Author Keywords: Malacosoma americanum; tent caterpillar; viral pesticide
M. J. Rinella, USDA/ ARS, 243 Fort Keogh Rd, Miles City, MT 59301, USA
Issue of Publication
Journal of Applied Entomology