The increasing problem of bed bugs requires the development of new control strategies, and insect pathogenic fungi can contribute towards management. We used laboratory bioassays with Isaria fumosoroseus, Lecanicillium muscarium and Beauveria bassiana to evaluate their virulence to the bed bug. Only B. bassiana significantly affected bed bug survival and was dependent on dose and formulation. A 2% B. bassiana oil formulation induced horizontal transfer to elevate mortality in a 10-day arena bioassay. Temporal distribution of contagious individuals and increasing the dose from 2 to 4% did not increase mortality. Horizontal transfer mainly occurred between adults, and only partly between adults and nymphs. Bed bugs showed activity peaks during the night, and activity was increased by elevated levels of CO2. Distribution between harbourages was not affected by CO2 activation, level of infection or the bio-pesticide, and horizontal transfer was not dependent on the degree of aggregation. Movement in the arenas negatively affected horizontal transfer when the number of susceptible individuals was large. Level of infection also influenced behaviour as the bed bug movement increased with elevated disease burden. The use of fungi as a part of an integrated pest management strategy seems to be an interesting option that should be investigated further. B. bassiana kills bed bugs and can be carried to harbourages to target hidden individuals.
Journal of Pest Science – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 13, 2017
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