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Naworaj Acharya

Western NYS Livestock and Field Crops IPM Area Educator Candidate
IPM Program Expert
Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

SEMINAR: House fly management in poultry production with a fungal biopesticide

April 18, 2018
10:00 am – 10:45 am
Plant Science G22
Filth-loving house flies, Musca domestica L., are economically and medically important insect pests in Intensive Animal Units (IAUs) including poultry production facilities. Standard, chemical pesticide-based control options for flies are becoming increasingly difficult due to insecticide resistance and regulatory constraints. Biopesticides based on naturally occurring insect disease-causing fungi could provide an alternative tool in Integrated Pest Management. The study addressed several issues related to field application, persistence and performance of a new fungal biopesticide against flies. We demonstrated that residual spray treatments of fungal biopesticide, Beauveria bassiana could sustainably suppress fly populations through lethal and sub-lethal impacts on reproductive output. We also evaluated the infectivity of oil-formulated B. bassiana against flies on typical poultry structural substrates including plastic sheets. Under laboratory conditions, the infectivity of the spray residues declined rapidly within a month following repeated fly exposures, however, in the absence of flies, conidia remained viable on test surfaces for up to 3 months. Similar studies in commercial poultry houses during winter showed the fungal spray treatments decayed in 1-2 weeks, with fly mortality rates influenced accordingly. The exact reasons for the more rapid field decay remain unclear but could be linked to complex indoor environments including high concentrations of ammonia in the basement areas, especially during winter when ventilation is minimal. While the rapid spore decay poses a challenge for operational use, our laboratory and field experimental results suggest the potential for adaptive treatment regimes with weekly spray intervals in conditions with very high fly populations and/or high ammonia levels, and potentially monthly spray intervals when fly populations and ammonia levels are reduced. Nevertheless, careful monitoring and adjustments of current housing and manure management to improve indoor air quality and create thermally stable environments would be necessary to increase the persistence and long-term efficacy of biopesticide treatments. Overall, the study demonstrates the feasibility of integrating biopesticide premise sprays into fly management strategies both in inside and outside the poultry rearing facilities.

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