Pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa, Lepidoptera: Thaumetopoeidae) larvae are highly susceptible to the entomopathogenic fungi Metarhizium brunneum and Beauveria bassiana

SONMEZ E., DEMİR İ., Bull J. C. , Butt T. M. , DEMİRBAĞ Z.

BIOCONTROL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.27, no.10, pp.1168-1179, 2017 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09583157.2017.1387643
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1168-1179


The larvae of the pine processionary moth (PPM), Thaumetopoea pityocampa, feed on the needles of pine and cedar. The urticating hairs of older instars pose a threat to human and animal health. Strains of the entomopathogenic fungi, Metarhizium brunneum (V275, ARSEF 4556) and Beauveria bassiana (KTU-24), were assayed against first to fourth instar T. pityocampa using doses ranging from 1x10(5) to 1x10(8) conidia mL(-1). The three strains differed slightly in their virulence but caused 100% mortality of all instars at the highest dose. The newly emerged or first instar larvae were extremely susceptible with 100% mortality being achieved 2-4 days post inoculation with V275 at all but the lowest dose. The fourth instar larvae appeared to be less susceptible than earlier instars. There was good horizontal transmission of conidia from treated to un-inoculated larvae. However, mortality was higher in third and fourth instars and where the ratio of inoculated versus untreated larvae was high. This we presume is due to spores being more readily trapped by the urticating hairs found on third and older instar larvae. Injection of the nests offers a simple and environmentally friendly way of controlling the pest with reduced risk to operators.