Bemisia argentifolii is a major pest of melon crop in key production areas of Mexico. Foliar applications of chemical insecticides for their management have been ineffective. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the use of commercial formulations of Beauveria bassiana and different rates for biological control of silverleaf whitefly in cantaloupe melon grown under tropical conditions. Experimental plots were treated with three rates of Mycotrol ES and only an of Naturalis-L or Endosulfan as conventional insecticide. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete-block design with four replicates. Effects of the treatments on B. argentifolii larval and adult populations and the amount of damage to the foliage and yield melon were recorded. There was not a significant difference between Mycotrol ES rates in nymphs and adults killed. Mycotrol ES, Naturalis and Endosulfan have a similar effect on nymphs and adults control. The nontreated control melon plants had significantly greater number of silverleaf whitefly nymphs and adults than Mycotrol ES, Naturalis-L and Endosulfan treatments. Also, marketable yield was lower for the nontreated control melon plants due to higher whitefly infestations. Results from this study indicate that B. bassiana use resulted in consistently lower whitefly infestations compared to the control. The field results are promising and confirmed the potential of B. bassiana as a microbial control agent against B. argentifolii in melon crop under tropical conditions.
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