Assessment of compatibility of microbiological control agents with the pollinator Bombus terrestris

Laboratory of Cellular Genetics, Department of Biology, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium.
Pest Management Science (Impact Factor: 2.69). 09/2009; 65(9):949-55. DOI: 10.1002/ps.1778
Source: PubMed


This study was undertaken to identify any potential adverse side effects of the use of seven microbiological control agents (MCAs) on the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris L., in the context of combined use in integrated pest management (IPM). AQ10 (Ampelomyces quisqualis), Binab-T-vector (Hypocrea parapilulifera + T. atroviride; 1/1), Prestop-Mix (Gliocladium catenulatum J1446), Serenade (Bacillus subtilis QST713), Trianum-P (Trichoderma harzianum T22), Botanigard (Beauveria bassiana GHA) and Granupom (Cydia pomonella granulovirus), comprising five biofungicides and two bioinsecticides, were investigated. Bumblebee workers were exposed under laboratory conditions to each MCA at its maximum field recommended concentration (MFRC) via three different routes of exposure: dermal contact and orally via either treated sugar water or pollen.
The tested MCAs were found to be safe for workers of B. terrestris, with the exception of Botanigard and Serenade. Exposure to Botanigard via contact at its MFRC caused 92% mortality after 11 weeks, while the 1/10 MFRC killed 46% of exposed workers. For Serenade, topical contact and oral delivery via sugar water resulted in 88 and 100% worker mortality respectively. With lower concentrations (1/2, 1/5 and 1/10 MFRC) the toxicity decreased, but the effect depended on the route of exposure. In addition to lethal effects, nests were also evaluated for sublethal effects after treatment with the seven MCAs at their respective MFRCs over 11 weeks. In these bioassays, only Botanigard and Serenade gave rise to a significant (P < 0.05) decrease in drone production. Sublethal effects on foraging behaviour were also evaluated, and only Botanigard at its MFRC delivered via treated sugar water induced negative effects.
The results demonstrated that most of the MCAs tested can be considered safe for use in combination with B. terrestris, based on the International Organisation for Biological Control of Noxious Animals and Plants (IOBC) classification. However, some can be harmful, such as the biofungicide Serenade and the bioinsecticide Botanigard. Therefore, it is recommended that all should be tested before use in combination with pollinators. In this context, it is also advisable that these MCAs should be evaluated in more realistic field situations for the assessment of potentially deleterious effects on foraging behaviour.

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