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ALVES, Luis F.A. et al. Natural occurrence of Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuilleman (Moniliales: Moniliaceae) on the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), in a poultry house in Cascavel, PR. Neotrop. Entomol. [online]. 2005, vol.34, n.3, pp. 507-510. ISSN 1519-566X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2005000300021.
One of the main problems in poultry houses in Brazil is the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus Panzer. This insect inhabits the litter, manure and soil of poultry houses, feeding on bird manure, cadavers and spilt feed. The lesser mealworm serves as a reservoir of many animal pathogens. Chickens also feed readily on the beetles in infested litter and this sometimes causes nutritional problems and affects weight gain. Current control measures are generally unsatisfactory and microbial control may be a promising strategy to control A. diaperinus. Natural occurrence of entomopathogens is very important for the natural control of insect pests and this paper records the occurrence of Beauveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. on the lesser mealworm in commercial poultry houses, in Brazil. The evaluation was carried out weekly for six months (September/2002 to February/2003). The soil around the poultry house was collected and transferred to Zoology Laboratory from Unioeste, at Cascavel, PR. Infected larvae and adults were always present, but infected pupae were registered twice. Larvae were more susceptible than pupae and adults (incidence ranging from 49% to 100%, mean 74%, 33% to 50%, mean 6.9%; 0.9% to 100%, mean 40.7%, respectively). The pathogenicity of the fungus was confirmed under laboratory conditions following procedures outlined in Koch's postulates.
Keywords : Microbial control; entomopathogenic fungus; animal production.