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Effect of diatomaceous earths Fossil Shield and Silico-Sec on the egg laying behaviour of Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) (Coleoptera: Bruchidae).

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Institute for Stored Product Protection, Federal Biological Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Phytomedicine, Institute of Horticultural Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural and Horticultural, Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany.


The pulse beetle, Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) is a destructive pest of pulses in both storage and field. It is well known that diatomaceous earth (DE) kill the insects by locally absorbing the epicuticular lipid layers leading to high rate of water loss through the cuticle. However, the effectiveness of DE depends on its ability to kill the adults before copulation and egg-laying. Newly emerged virgin males and females of Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) were exposed to the DEs, Fossil-Shield and Silico-Sec on 30 treated mungbeans (Vigna radita (L)). Fecundity, number of beans used for egg-laying and beans without eggs were evaluated after four days; the number of unhatched eggs was evaluated after ten days. It was determined, that the fecundity of female insects decreased sigmoidely with increasing rate of DE content. Percentages of unhatched eggs and seeds without eggs increased with increasing DE dosages. However, the maximum egg densities (eggs per used secd) occurred at 1200 mg DE/kg for Fossil-Shield and Silico-Sec. The reason for such DE-stimulated behaviour of egg laying expressed as a number of seeds with eggs of C. maculatus is not known, but it may be related to the stress caused by the inert dusts or to the reduction of both chemical and physical (tactile) stimuli. Treatment with DEs altered the surface texture of the beans and caused less cohesion between eggs and the seed surface. Only few larvae managed to penetrate into the grains, possibly due to increased grain roughness and repellent effect of DE. A relatively high number of eggs were laid on the surface of those beans where the amount of dust had been locally reduced by adults' movement and their pick up of DE. Therefore, several larvae tried to penetrate into these treated beans, causing a high larval density per partially cleaned bean. All these reasons lead to a progeny decline.

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