Combatting Eucalyptus Snout Beetle: Harnessing Pathogenic Fungi for Forest Plantation Protection

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Researchers have identified naturally-occurring pathogenic fungi that infect the Eucalyptus snout beetle within Eucalyptus forest plantations.

They have meticulously characterized these fungi with the aim of developing a bio-pesticide for effective control of the beetle population.

The Eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus platensis, poses a significant threat to global Eucalyptus forest plantations, often controlled with limited success using the micro wasp Anaphes spp. However, financial viability remains a challenge. In response, scientists embarked on a search for naturally occurring pathogenic fungi as a potential solution.

Eucalyptus forests, spanning over 20 million hectares worldwide, face severe defoliation and up to 86% wood volume losses from the Eucalyptus snout beetle, particularly in the Iberian Peninsula. Despite the importance of Eucalyptus wood for paper pulp production, complete biological control is elusive, occasionally requiring chemical intervention.

What distinguishes this research is the collection of fungi from naturally infected beetles in Colombia, ensuring adaptation to local environmental conditions and offering promise for effective beetle control in forest plantations.

To assess the fungi's potential for bio-pesticide development, scientists characterized them based on insecticidal activity, UV-B radiation tolerance, and other parameters. Beauveria pseudobassiana and Metarhizium brunneum emerged as the most potent, with B. pseudobassiana exhibiting superior adaptation for bio-pesticide production and resilience to environmental conditions.

The identified fungi hold potential for bio-pesticide development, pending trials in Eucalyptus forests. Success could extend their application to other regions facing severe Eucalyptus snout beetle damage. Supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Colombia, through Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria – AGROSAVIA, this project is part of the initiative "Strategies for planning and management of forest plantations and agroecosystems in Colombia." The scientists are actively seeking additional funding for subsequent field tests.

For further information, please contact:

Doctoral Researcher Alexander Pulgarin Diaz, University of Eastern Finland / School of Forest Sciences. alexander.pulgarin.diaz (at)

Research article: MEJÍA, CINDY, GLORIA BARRERA, JOHN ALEXANDER PULGARÍN DÍAZ, CARLOS ESPINEL. 2024. The Eucalyptus snout beetle in Colombia: selection and evaluation of entomopathogenic fungi as bioinsecticides against Gonipterus platensis. Biological Control: 105407.