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Keywords:

  • Agaricus bisporus;
  • sciarid flies;
  • phorid flies;
  • biological control;
  • insect pathogenic nematodes;
  • sex ratio;
  • recycling

Summary

The nematode Steinernema feltiae (Nematoda: Steinemematidae) was tested for its ability to control two main mushroom pests i.e. the sciarid Lycoriella auripila (Diptera: Sciaridae) and the phorid Megaselia halterata (Diptera: Phoridae) in growing-rooms filled with spawned compost. A clear difference between female and male sciarid control was observed. A nematode application 1 day after casing preceded by an application 1 day before casing on the compost caused an almost complete control (97%) of the F1-generation of female sciarids. The F2-generation of females was similarly controlled (95%) by an application 7 days after casing. A dosage of 1 × 106nematodes m-2was found to be equally effective as higher dosages. Diflubenzuron remained active throughout entire the cropping period with high sciarid mortality rates varying from 72% to 99%.

Phorid control was variable and seemed to depend on the presence of sciarids. In one occasion the control rate of F2-generation phorid larvae was 75% and was possibly caused by the presence of new infective juvenile nematodes recycled in F2-generation sciarid larvae. Diflubenzuron did not significantly reduce phorid numbers.