Integrated Mangement of the Andean potato weevil
A brief description of the research area
The principal target pest of this project is the Andean potato weevil (APW), Premnotrypes spp. The expected output is a reduction in the amount of chemicals used by participating farmers to control these pests. This will be achieved by developing decision-making tools as well as location-specific IPM practices, taking advantage of existing biocontrol agents. Principal among these is the use of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria sp., which has been found effective in controlling APW under various conditions. Beauveria sp. is actually produced in a cottage-type industry as a biopesticide and like most of these biopesticides; it is facing a number of problems that limit its adoption by poor Andean farmers. In depth studies on pest-pathogen interaction are therefore one of the focal research activities in order to find possibilities to overcome the main constraints for its effective use. Other pathogens like the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium sp. and entomopathogenic nematodes have been observed affecting the Andean potato weevils. Surveys will be carried out to identify pathogens and natural enemies as possible new biological control agents. The pathogenicity and efficacy of promising control agents will be tested in laboratory and field trials. Further, their effects on non-target organisms will be assessed. Apart of the complex of the Andean potato weevils, other weevil species damaging Andean tuber crops oca (Oxalis tuberosa) and olluco (Ullucus tuberosus) are sharing the same habitat. Basic research activities will be carried out to study the taxonomy, biology, ecology and behaviour for these weevils as a profound basis to developing IPM strategies.
Specific research areas and expected outputs include: