Aleurotrachelus trachoides, biocontrol2, FSM Minimize

March 2011. Aleurotrachelus trachoides is causing problems on kava and capsicum, and other crops in FSM. An efficient biocontrol agent was required. The following natural enemies have been recorded on whiteflies in FSM: Encarsia hartiensis, which gives good control of Spiraling white fly; Nephaspis sp. (beetle); Evorinea sp. (beetle); Amitus sp. (beetle); Aschersonia sp. (fungus).

In 2008, FSM received Nephaspis oculata and N. bicolo from SPC, Fiji. Unfortunately, FSM was not able to rear those two species. Could other natural enemies be suggested for introduction.

In response, one member said that in the Comoros islands, a parasito├»d (Eretmocerus n. sp.) was to be introduced in 2007 for the control Aleurotrachelus trachoides. Contact Nicolas Borowiec ( In New Caledonia, Encarsia pergandiella and Eretmocerus eremicus is being reared for whitefly biocontrol, but these species are not parasitoidds of A. trachoides.

A. trachoides became as problem in Guam 2 years ago on hot peper and Duranta. Later, the population declined and it is no longer a problem. Most probably a "fortuitous introduction" of a parasitoid occurred, but this is only speculation. Research is needed, and thfis could benefit Pohnpei, too. However, the recent introduction of Oryctes coconiut beetle and the Asian cycad scale, which has already killed 90% of Guam's native cycad, Cycas micronesica, are taking up all the resources available. The high rate of insect invasions, coupled with a low number of practicing entomologists to deal with the problems they cause, is a chronic problem in Micronesia, and this situation seems to be getting worse.

It was suggested that the production of Aschersonia sp. would be a sensible approach, and could be done on a cottage industry basis, as it is not too difficult to culture.

In response, FSM asked how it could be done without a lab or a plant pathologist, it coud be difficult.

This is what was said inn reply:

To start something small you don't require too much, then by learning you could scale up the production, but certainly you need a place (probably a couple small rooms) where you can have a fridge and some microbiological tools.
The idea will be to start an small collection of Archersonia strains and learn how to keep then in Petri dishes with media. PDA (Potato Dextrose Agar) will be a good one to use. Then you can start making trials of growing the fungus on cereals, like millet, corn or rice.
You can buy the PDA from chemical companies, but also you could make you own if you can get a source of agar. The agar-agar that is used as a food works very well and is much cheaper. The dextrose can be bought at any drug store, and potatoes can be bought as a grocery store. The recipe fcan be sent. Alternativcely, oat agar could also be used, as it works well for other entomopathogens. See, to get a better idea about entomopathogens production on a small scale.