Small fungal preparations can make a big difference to protect the moose from winter mites

In the fight to save elk from winter mites, small millet fungi can be the ultimate weapon. Researchers funded by the Morris Animal Foundation at the University of Vermont have recently successfully produced granular formulations of insecticidal fungi and tested their effectiveness against winter mite larvae under laboratory conditions. ..The team reported their findings at Biocontrol science and technology.

Dr. Margaret Skinner, a research professor at the University of Vermont’s Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said: “Winter mites kill too much mousse, North forest icon. However, at this time, the only management strategy needed to reduce the burden on mites is to reduce the number of hosts. That is, killing elks and reducing the food source for mites. “

The life cycle of winter mites is one year. After hatching from eggs in the summer, they gather on the ground and wait for the fall to attach to the host. This is the time when mites are most vulnerable to threats such as pesticides that occur in the soil of elk habitats. The fungus does not occur naturally at high concentrations enough to eliminate a large number of mites.

Over-the-counter fungal-based biopesticides were available to mites using fungi Metarhizium brunneum.. Skinner’s team theorized that smaller particles are more likely to be filtered. Litter The higher the amount, the more likely the tick will come into contact with the infectious spores.

Researchers have created their own prototype products using M. brunneum, And three similar fungi from California, South Korea, and Vermont are all grown on millet grains.

The team tested the efficacy of the formulation against approximately 1,000 winter mite larvae that hatched from wild-collected females. The larvae were divided into 5 groups. One is for each formulation and the other is an unexposed control group. Mites live in sand-filled cups to recreate their natural habitat, and researchers sprinkled granules into them at two different velocities.

The team found that 53% -98% of mites were killed by the drug after 9 weeks and there was no significant difference between the two application rates.

“These results are very important because they provide a proof of concept for a safe and effective management strategy,” said Dr. Janet Patterson Kane, Chief Scientific Officer of the Morris Animal Foundation. “Mites have plagued moose for over a century and are a burden to many other species. We need to do what we can to protect them.”

According to Skinner, the team’s next step is to identify specific areas of the winter-rich elk habitat. Tick concentration. Her team can then conduct field trials of their products.

Winter mites have significantly reduced elk populations in North America. On average, one elk has 47,000 mites in Vermont. A recent Vermont Fish and Wildlife Service survey of elk concludes that winter mites are the main cause of 74% and 91% of all deaths. winter Calf mortality. The ministry believes that the state’s elk population is “relatively stable at around 3,000,” a decrease from an estimated 4,800 in 2005.

Entomologists have discovered that naturally occurring fungi can control the plague of elk mites.

For more information:
Effectiveness of granular formulations of Metarhizium anisopliae and Metarhizium brunneum (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae) against non-host larvae of Cheryl Frank Sullivan et al, Dermacentor albipictus (Ixodidae), Biocontrol science and technology (2021). DOI: 10.1080 / 09583157.2021.1926428

Courtesy of Morris Animal Foundation

Quote: Small fungal preparations were obtained from on August 6, 2021 Winter mites (August 2021) 6 days) can make a big difference to protect the mousse

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Small fungal preparations can make a big difference to protect the moose from winter mites

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