Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha, Melolontha hippocastani)

Biological control of cockchafers in the Euroregion Tyrol:
a story of success since twenty yearsMelocont

Market ready biocontrol agents such as Melocont® Pilzgerste have to be applicable, safe and effective at a reasonable price. One last scientific practical test of this biological control agent was successfully completed in the framework of the BEAUMON study “Beauveria brongniartii monitoring in cockchafer infested areas of East-, North- and South Tyrol” in autumn 2013. There was no doubt regarding efficacy of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria brongniartii, strain BIPESCO 2. However, it was confirmed that the persistence of the fungus in the different treated soil plots was depended upon the actual cockchafer larval density in soil and upon the number of Melocont® Pilzgerste application, respectively. This inoculative application technique leads to a fungal density of more than 1.000 cfu (colony forming unit per gram dry weight soil) in grassland, orchards and agricultural land - on condition that the product is applied two times allocated to two planting seasons, in a concentration of 25 kg per hectare and application with a slit seeder or rotor harrow.

A survey completed by farmers of the Euroregion Tyrol resulted that their individual positive evaluation and our scientific data assessed in this study yielded a very similar outcome. Twenty years of experience with Melocont® Pilzgerste showed population control based on the efficacy of the production strain BIPESCO 2. The entomopathogenic fungus B. brongniartii can be selectively re-isolated on a selective nutrient medium and identified based on a microsatellite marker method (SSR). These methods will help us to advise affected people and advisors how to manage their cockchafer pest problem. This work is supported by Amt der Tiroler Landesregierung (BEAUMON, Grant Agreement No. LWSJF 0109/736).

  Latest information on Melolontha control

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Contact: Hermann Strasser

General information: Biological control of Melolontha spp.

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