Applications of Beauveria bassiana (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) to Control Populations of Spotted Lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), in Semi-Natural Landscapes and on Grapevines

Research Summary by Abby Bezrutczyk

Clifton, Eric H, Ann E Hajek, Nina E Jenkins, Richard T Roush, Rost P. John, and David J Biddinger. 2020. “Applications of Beauveria Bassiana (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) to Control Populations of Spotted Lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), in Semi-Natural Landscapes and on Grapevines.” Environmental Entomology, 1–11.

In 2018, Dr. Eric Clifton and colleagues found populations of spotted lanternfly (SLF) (Lycorma delicatula) decimated by native fungi Beauveria bassiana and Batkoa major in Pennsylvania. This finding drove the team to test B. bassiana as a treatment against SLF in 3 different tests: 1) spraying a commercially available B. bassiana spore solution, BoteGHA, on 4 different plots of trees in an SLF-infested park, 2) taking sprayed-adults from the park and placed them on potted Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a favorite host-plant of SLF, and 3) spraying a selection of mycoinsecticides at different concentrations directly on SLF on potted grapevines. The treatment was effective at killing the insects in all tests: 48% of fourth instar nymphs (the last immature stage of SLF) in the park test, and 43% of adults in the tree-of-heaven test, were killed 14 days after 1 treatment. They note that actual mortality may have been higher; untreated insects may have moved into the plots after spraying. They also found success in the grapevine tests: an oil-based mycoinsecticide called Aprehend caused 99% mortality of SLF after 9 days. These results show the potential of B. bassiana mycoinsecticides for controlling SLF with few off-target effects, in both semi-natural and agricultural landscapes. 

Take-home points:

  • The fungus Beauveria bassiana had been shown to kill spotted lanternfly.
  • Spraying commercially available mycoinsecticide containing B. bassiana resulted in significant mortality, in treatments with both indirect and direct spraying of insects.

Management Implications:

  • Mycoinsecticides that use Beauveria bassiana spores may be an effective control method for spotted lanternfly.
  • This treatment can provide an alternative to conventional insecticide controls.
  • Further research on application techniques and its effectiveness on younger instars will help our understanding of the treatment possibilities.