Fungi could control pine weevil pest

Research at Swansea University has shown that fungi can help control the pests that damage forests throughout Europe and could help forest managers with an alternative to chemical pesticides.

Recent research by Dr Minshad Ali Ansari and Professor Tariq Butt from Swansea University’s Biocontrol and Natural Products Group has focussed on the Large Pine Weevil (Hylobius abietis), which feeds on the bark of conifer tree saplings causing significant damage costing an estimated €140 million per year.

 As well as pine, species hit by this pest include Sitka spruce which is very important to the UK timber and paper industries.  Severe infestations are thought to affect conifer plantations for several years as they can prevent saplings and seedlings from growing.

The research co-funded by the EU IMPACT1 project found the most effective strain of insect killing fungi tested on the large pine weevil larvae, pupae and adult insects was Metarhizium robertsii.

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