Volume 10 Part 2 Article 30: The Identity, Economic Importance and Control of Insect Pests of Mushrooms in New South Wales, Australia

Volume 10 Part 2 Article 30
Year 1979
Title: The Identity, Economic Importance and Control of Insect Pests of Mushrooms in New South Wales, Australia
Author: A.D. Clift


Apart from work done during the late 1940’s (Shan Ah An, 1948) there has been no formal research work done on insect and mite pests of mushrooms in Australia. A booklet on mushroom culture produced by the N.S.W. Department of Agriculture (Conroy et al., 1966) contained a section on insect and mite pests based on published information from England and Pennsylvania supplemented by observations made on Australian mushroom farms.

The booklet gave general descriptions of the life history and damage caused by mushroom sciarids, phorids, cecids and mites but no mention was made of the relative importance of these pests. Control recommendations were based on general hygiene, use of BHC (lindane) dusts and dichlorvos. Diazinon was not registered in Australia at this time for direct use in mushroom culture. Late in 1975 several projects on mushroom pests were started in N.S.W. to determine the relative importance of the various mushroom pests and to evaluate both new and existing control measures.

Loudon (1978) described the sciarid fly present on N.S.W. and Queensland mushroom farms as a new species, Lycoriella agarici Loudon. This species is not present in Victoria. He also established that the other insect pest species frequently found on commercial farms were similar to those found on farms in England (Hussey, 1972, 1976) and Pennsylvania (Snetsinger, 1972). Schicha (pers. comm.) has examined the various species of mites found on Australian farms and has indicated that undescribed species of Pygmephorus (Pyemotidae), Caloglyphus (Tyroglyphidae) Histiostoma (Anoetidae) and Gamasidae were present.

To determine the efficiency of existing pest control measures, as well as to evaluate new chemicals, four field trials have been conducted under commercial conditions. Pirimiphos-ethyl granules have been shown to be very effective for fly control in the laboratory (Binns, 1973) and under commercial conditions (Ward, 1974) in England. The testing of this chemical was given priority in N.S.W. as diazinon was not providing satisfactory protection over the complete growing cycle.

The information presented here is a condensation of the results of the biological studies, the field survey and the field trials carried out over the last two years.

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