Beauveria bassiana is an entomopathogenic fungus that causes white muscardine disease in a range of insects including whiteflies, aphids, thrips, grasshoppers and certain types of beetles. It differs from Nosema locustae in that it does not need to be ingested by the host; B. bassiana spores simply need to come in contact with a host. Once the host insect is infected, the fungus rapidly grows inside of the insect, feeding on the nutrients present in the host's body and producing toxins in the process. When the host dies, the B. bassiana covers the carcass in a layer of white mold that produces more infective spores.
Naturally occurring in the soils of numerous regions globally, Beauveria bassiana is mainly used to target foliar pests as many soil dwelling pests have developed a natural resistance to B. bassiana since it is native to such a range of regions. For this reason, close examination of the pest insect(s) for correct identification should be done before applications to the soil are made.
A major advantage to using Beauveria bassiana is the fact it can be used up until the day of harvest as the residue is not harmful to consumers (it is good practice to always wash harvested material before consumption). As with any insecticide, follow all safety precautions on the label when using B. bassiana products. While B. bassiana is considered a reduced risk pesticide, it is still recommended that long-sleeved shirts and pants be worn along with a mask and/or goggles when applying products containing the fungus.
Please give us a call at 1-800-827-2847 if you have any questions about Beauveria bassiana, its uses, targeted pests, etc.
For information from the University of Connecticut on the control of the Colorado Potato Beetles using a combination of Beauveria bassiana and Btk, click here.