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New Zealand Plant Protection 68 (2015): 146-150

Assessing the potential of Yersinia entomophaga to control plantain moth in a laboratory assay

S.A. Jones, C.M. Ferguson, B.A. Philip, C. van Koten and M.R.H. Hurst

ABSTRACT

The recent increased use of the high-quality drought-tolerant forage plant plantain (Plantago lanceolata) (Plantaginaceae) has been associated with outbreaks of native geometrid caterpillars, such as Scopula rubraria. The outbreaks most often occur under warm climatic conditions and within plantain monocrops. Pest populations can reach 11,500 larvae/m2. Stands can be severely damaged with 90% of plants destroyed and stand life expectancy reduced by 2-3 years. This study assessed the efficacy of the insecticidal bacterium Yersinia entomophaga against S. rubraria under laboratory conditions using a leaf history of S. rubraria and the pathobiology of Y. entomophaga suggest the bacterium could be developed as a biopesticide for use against S. rubraria.

Keywords: plantain, Plantago lanceolata, plantain moth, Scopula rubraria, Yersinia entomophaga, biopesticide, control agent.

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