Biology Ph.D. Dissertations


The Impact of Beauveria Bassiana, Trichogramma, Bt Sprays and Spinosad on the Lepidopteran (Crambidae) Cereal Stalk Borer, the European Corn Borer (Ostrinia Nubilalis)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Daniel Pavuk, PhD (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Alexander Tarnovsky, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Gabriela Bidart Bouzat, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Ronald Hammond, PhD (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Moira Van-Staaden, PhD (Committee Member)


The research examined the effects of microbial and novel insecticidal control strategies and also Trichogramma pretiosum on the European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). The treatments included Spinosad (an insecticide from bacteria (Saccharopolyspora spinosa), entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, the parasitoid Trichogramma pretiosum and foliar applied Bt spray and two combinations Beauveria bassiana plus Bt spray and Trichogramma pretiosum and Spinosad.

The infestation of corn by European corn borer larvae was severe in all control treatments for both 2006 and 2007. The microbial treatments caused various levels of European corn borer mortality. In all the parameters there was a significant difference between the control and other treatments with a P value of <0.001. In this research, treatment 3 (Spinosad) emerged as the most effective biological agent in the control of the European corn borer.

The treatments had no effect on the relative abundance and composition of non-target arthropods (P >0.05).

The possible desirable outcome of the research would be an increased awareness of the alternative and potentially useful control strategies available for Ostrinia nubilalis. The research provides support for underutilized control strategies and increased stakeholder adoption of integrated pest management practices and thereby reducing the use of conventional insecticides especially, for organic farmers.