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The Effect of Trichoderma harzianum on Honey Bee Survival 1997

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Project Leaders: Elizabeth Brownold, Susan Flanders, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Joe Kovach, IPM Program, Cornell University, NYS Ag. Exp. Sta., Geneva, NY 14456

Introduction: Botrytis cinerea is a fungal pest of berry fruit that causes gray mold or fruit rot. Infection usually occurs in the flower, remains quiescent until the fruit matures, and then develops abundantly, causing fruit decay. One biological control agent of B. cinerea that is commercial available is the fungal antagonist, Trichoderma harzianum.

Over the last four years we have sprayed T. harzianum and used bumble bees and honey bees to deliver a powdered formulation of T. harzianum to strawberry flowers for Botrytis fruit rot control. Results to date for both sprayed and bee delivered T. harzianum have shown good Botrytis control. Although T. harzianum is non toxic to birds and mammals and observational data from our trials indicated that it does not affect honey bees, experimental data must be generated to determine the effect of T. harzianum on honey bee health in order to facilitate the registration of this biocontrol agent. Therefore, the objective of this experiment was to determine the effect of T. harzianum on honey bee hive health.