Control measures for mushroom pests

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Various measures are available to control pests of mushroom production including physical exclusion, biological control and chemical insecticides.

Control measures

Physical exclusion

Phoridae and Sciaridae

In common with most insect pest problems, preventative measures are an essential element of control.
Adult flies must be prevented access to Phase II compost from cool-down and throughout the spawn-run period.
Screening on ventilation ducts (16 mesh/cm) and efficient sealing on personnel and loading doors are essential.
Personnel access to production houses, particularly during spawn-run, should be restricted to essential crop management practices.
In addition, sticky traps should be installed and monitored frequently for the occurrence of adult flies, particularly during spawn-run.
Illumination of sticky traps with a fluorescent light source will increase effectiveness of traps.

Biological control



No commercial biological control agent currently available for Phoridae. The biological control agent Steinernema feltiae provides an alternative to chemical control, which may also be applied immediately following casing.
  This insect pathogenic nematode which parasitises larvae is available in pack sizes of 150 and 300 million nematodes and the rate of application is 3 million nematodes/ m².
  The nematodes are formulated in a powdered inert vermiculate carrier and must be refrigerated (5-10°C) during storage.
  Application equipment must be clean and free from pesticide residues and fine filters should be removed from the sprayer.
  These biological agents can be integrated with compatible chemicals but they must not be tank mixed.

Chemical insecticide

Phoridae and Sciaridae

For each crop protection product, the manufacturers' instructions regarding crop, environmental and personal protective safety should be closely adhered to.
Mushroom production houses may be sprayed or fumigated with aerosol formulations containing the insecticide active ingredient pyrethrin or a formulation of pyrethrin and resmethrin.  Applications to be made with 'cold fogging' equipment.
A product containing 10 g/l pyrethrins should be applied as a spray to run off at a maximum concentration of 700 ml product per 100 litres water
Fogging with this product should be at a maximum concentration of 1 litre product per 100 litres water.
Insecticide treatments, which target adults only, will not control populations effectively.
Insecticide treatments must also be directed at immature stages in the compost and casing to achieve optimum control.
A minimum interval of 7 days must be observed between applications.
Chemical insecticide containing the active ingredient diflubenzuron (100g/100m² in 250 l water) may be applied immediately after casing.