Entomology, Department of


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Published in Environmental Entomology 28(6): 1172-1176 (1999). Copyright 1999 Entomological Society of America. Used by permission.


A study was conducted in 1996 and 1997 to determine if honey bees, Apis mellifera L., could vector Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner variety kurstaki from hives equipped with a pathogen applicator to sunflower capitula and if the amount of B. thuringiensis deposited on the capitula would be sufficient to control the banded sunflower moth, Cochylis hospes Walsingham. The study demonstrated that honey bees became contaminated with B. thuringiensis as they exited hives equipped with filled pathogen applicators and deposited enough B. thuringiensis on the capitula to cause banded sunflower moth larval mortality. When 2 methods of applying B. thuringiensis were compared, the honey bee vectoring method gave better or equivalent control of the banded sunflower moth larvae than manual sprays, resulting in higher seed yields than manual sprays. The presence of honey bees also increased seed set which contributed to greater yield.

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