POSTERS: Biological control
Bee Vectoring Technology using Clonostachys rosea as biological control for Botrytis fruit rot on strawberry in Florida
Mayara Bolognesi de Morais - University of Florida - Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. Leandro Cordova- Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Adrian Zuniga- University of Florida - Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Natalia Peres- University of Florida - Gulf Coast Research and Education Center
Botrytis fruit rot (BFR), caused by Botrytis cinerea, is a major disease of strawberry. The intensive use of fungicides for its management has resulted in resistance to several fungicide groups. Therefore, the need to incorporate alternative strategies to manage BFR. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of the Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT) using Clonostachys rosea as a biological control. The technology consists in the use of bumblebees to carry C. rosea to strawberry flowers where it competes with B. cinerea. Three experiments were conducted at two commercial farms in Central Florida during the 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons. Treatments consisted of non-treated control; fungicide program; BVT; and BVT + fungicide program. Fruit were harvested twice a week throughout the season to determine BFR incidence. Postharvest activity of C. rosea was quantified by incubating fruit from selected harvests. The BVT + fungicide program, but not BVT alone, reduced BFR incidence compared to the non-treated control in all three seasons. For postharvest evaluation, BVT + fungicide program also reduced BFR incidence but only during the first season. Furthermore, strawberry yields tended to be higher in the fungicide and BVT + fungicide treatments. Thus, the BVT technology may be used in combination with fungicides to reduce BFR. Additional research is needed to address the potential yield benefits of using pollinators and the economics of the technology.