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Sustainable Control of Taro Beetles via Scoliid Wasps and Metarhizium anisopliae

Authors: P. Birch, F. O. Faithpraise, J. Idung, C. R. Chatwin, R. C. D. Young, H. Lu

Abstract:

Taro Scarab beetles (Papuana uninodis, Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) inflict severe damage on important root crops and plants such as Taro or Cocoyam, yam, sweet potatoes, oil palm and coffee tea plants across Africa and Asia resulting in economic hardship and starvation in some nations. Scoliid wasps and Metarhizium anisopliae fungus - bio-control agents; are shown to be able to control the population of Scarab beetle adults and larvae using a newly created simulation model based on non-linear ordinary differential equations that track the populations of the beetle life cycle stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult and the population of the scoliid parasitoid wasps, which attack beetle larvae. In spite of the challenge driven by the longevity of the scarab beetles, the combined effect of the larval wasps and the fungal bio-control agent is able to control and drive down the population of both the adult and the beetle eggs below the environmental carrying capacity within an interval of 120 days, offering the long term prospect of a stable and eco-friendly environment; where the population of scarab beetles is: regulated by parasitoid wasps and beneficial soil saprophytes.

Keywords: Metarhizium anisopliae, parasitoids, Scoliid wasps, Sustainable control, Taro beetles

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1097355

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