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Control of the sugarcane weevil, Sphenophorus levis, with entomopathogenic nematodes

Abstract

Amongst the pests that damage sugarcane crops in the State of São Paulo, the curculionid beetle Sphenophorus levis Vaurie, 1978, has grown in importance, principally as it spread to areas where its incidence had not been previously registered. This insect known also as the sugarcane weevil, in its larval phase, feeds on the rhizome of the plant, being capable of causing damage to between 5 and 60 per cent of the shoots, and losses in production of up to 30 per cent. Entopathogenic nematodes of the Heterorhabditis and Steinernema kind have shown themselves to be fairly effective in the control of several species of curculionids, including the Sphenophorus kind which constitutes a significant pest in the United States and Japan. In Brazil, several pieces of research have demonstrated great potential in the use of the Steinernema sp. IBCB-n6 nematode for the control of the sugarcane weevil ever since the first study on the subject. This project will have the following objectives: 1) to evaluate new isolates of nematodes against S. levis adults; 2) to evaluate the virulence of Steinernema sp. IBCB-n06 replicated in two species of hosts, against S. levis adults; 3) to evaluate the efficiency of Steinernema against S. levis in sugarcane areas with and without straw covering; 4) to determine the best time of the year and number of applications of Steinernema sp. in the control of S. levis; 5) to evaluate the efficiency of Steinernema sp. in application with vinasse in the control of S. levis; and 6) to evaluate the persistence of Steinernema sp. in sugarcane areas treated with the nematode, and the efficiency of the control agent of S. levis. (AU)

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