Chile: Blueberries affected by deadly plague

There are 1,600 hectares planted with blueberries between the Region of Maule and the Region of Aysen, 12% of which are in the province of Ñuble. In recent times, the Aegorhinus nodipennis pest is affecting these crops.

"This insect causes damage both in adulthood and in its larval stage. However, it causes the most damage in its larval stage, when it makes holes inside the plants' roots, weakening the plant until it dies," said the biochemistry of INIA Quilamapu, Irina Urtubia.

Urtubia noted that "farmers usually become aware of the problem when they see some adults on the surface, but it's too late by then. The females lay many eggs and they multiply very quickly."

She also said that they were working on a project to look for entomopathogenic fungi and nematodes that could control the insect.

"The advantage of the nematodes, which are a kind of worm that has the ability to move within the soil and find the target larva, is that they are highly specific and, in this project, we've found two that control 100% of the larvae in lab conditions. That is, they cause 100% mortality, which is great because it means that in the field it would be close to 80%, the best case scenario," she said.


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