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Open AccessArticle

An Ecological Assessment of Isaria fumosorosea Applications Compared to a Neonicotinoid Treatment for Regulating Invasive Ficus Whitefly

1
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), Indian River Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2199 South Rock Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA
2
IFAS, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2725 S. Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703, USA
3
IFAS, Saint Lucie County Extension, University of Florida, 8400 Picos Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA
4
IFAS, Tropical Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 18905 SW 280 Street, Homestead, FL 33031, USA
5
ARS, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, Subtropical Insect Research Unit, USDA, 2001 South Rock Road, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Fungi 2019, 5(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof5020036
Received: 1 March 2019 / Revised: 24 April 2019 / Accepted: 25 April 2019 / Published: 4 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal-Insect Interactions)
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Abstract

A pilot study was conducted on a weeping fig, Ficus benjamina shrub hedge in a Florida urban landscape to determine the efficacy of a fungal biopesticide, PFR-97™ which contains blastospores of Isaria fumosorosea, and a neonicotinoid treatment (Admire Pro™) applied against the invasive ficus whitefly pest, Singhiella simplex (Singh). Post treatment, an ecological assessment of the study was conducted by observing the impact of the fungal biopesticide and neonicotinoid treatment on natural enemies, e.g., predators, parasitoids and enzootic fungal pathogens occurring in the whitefly-infested hedge. Both treatments provided a significant reduction in the whitefly population compared to control and were compatible with the natural enemies present. Various natural enemies including fungal entomopathogens were identified associated with the whitefly population infesting the weeping fig hedge. The parasitoids, Encarsia protransvena Viggiani and Amitus bennetti Viggiani & Evans combined parasitized a similar mean number of whitefly nymphs in both treatments and control; however, the number parasitized decreased over time. Natural enzootic fungi isolated from the ficus whitefly nymphs were I. fumosorosea, Purpureocillium lilacinum and Lecanicillium, Aspergillus and Fusarium species. Results from this pilot study suggest there is much potential for using repeated applications of the fungal biopesticide, PFR-97™ as a foliar spray compared to a neonicitionid as a soil drench for managing S. simplex on Ficus species for ≥28 days. View Full-Text
Keywords: residential; enzootic; entomopathogenic fungi; biocontrol; weeping fig; Encarsia protransvena; Amitus bennetti; Purpureocillium lilacinum residential; enzootic; entomopathogenic fungi; biocontrol; weeping fig; Encarsia protransvena; Amitus bennetti; Purpureocillium lilacinum
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Avery, P.B.; Kumar, V.; Skvarch, E.A.; Mannion, C.M.; Powell, C.A.; McKenzie, C.L.; Osborne, L.S. An Ecological Assessment of Isaria fumosorosea Applications Compared to a Neonicotinoid Treatment for Regulating Invasive Ficus Whitefly. J. Fungi 2019, 5, 36.

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