Volume 10 Part 2 Article 31: Control of Sciarids in Mushroom Cultures

Volume 10 Part 2 Article 31
Year 1979
Title: Control of Sciarids in Mushroom Cultures
Author: P.F. Kalberer


The sciarid (Lycoriella auripila) is an important and common insect pest of mushroom cultures. Adult insects are vectors for various pests and pathogens, of which Verticillium fungicola is the most important one. Adult sciarids carry Verticillium fungicola spores from diseased to healthy-mushrooms (Cross and Jacobs, 1969). Dry bubble caused by Verticillium fungicola is one of the very dangerous diseases of Agaricus bisporus (Forer et al., 1974). Sciarid larvae tunnel into sporophores and in a short time the tunnels show signs of decay and turn brown or black (Hussey and Gurney, 1968 and Snetsinger, 1972). Already with a minor infestation of sciarids the numbers of sporophores with tunnels can be appreciable. Consumers complain, whenever they get mushrooms with larval tunnels and larvae. The larvae also feed on the mushroom mycelium in the compost as well as in the casing soil (Binns, 1975). Larvae feeding close to small pinheads can detach them from the rest of the mycelium (Hussey and Gurney, 1968 and SNnetsinger, 1972). In case of a severe infestation this can affect the crop yield. Large numbers of larvae turn localized areas of the compost in a soggy and foul mass. No mycelium will grow in these areas (Hussey and Gurney, 1968).

Starting points of an intelligent sciarid control are an adequate pasteurization of the compost and growing rooms as insectproof as possible. Well equipped plants and a strict hygiene (Ganney, 1973) prevent frequent outbreaks and persistent sciarid problems. But even in well equipped and managed plants sciarid outbreaks may occur once in a while. If the insect population exceeds the tolerable limit, the first step is to find and to eliminate the cause of this infestation. The next is to get rid of the pests in the culture rooms. To achieve this the grower needs good insecticides which eradicate the pests in his plant in as short a time as possible (Kalberer, et al., 1977, 1978). Insecticides should not be used routinely. Permanent treatments cause unnecessary residues in and on the mushrooms and more quickly lead to resistance of the sciarids. The elimination of the cause of the infestation is of the utmost importance.

In this paper we present results on the effectiveness and the phytotoxicity of a number of insecticides used and proposed for use in mushroom cultures. We concentrate on pesticides mixed into the casing soil. Data on residues in and on mushrooms are given for one of them (carbofuran). A general concept for the prevention and the control of sciarid infestations in mushroom cultures is outlined. Various applications of insecticides in the framework of this concept are discussed.

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