As pests develop resistance to certain chemicals used in pest control, a team of researchers at the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid (UPM) and Universidad Complutense of Madrid has discovered insecticidal fungi that offer alternatives for pest controllers worldwide.

How Does Insecticidal Fungi Work for Pest Control?

The anisoplin is a protein that is produced by a pathogenic fungus of insects and mites and is a member of the fungal ribotoxins group, which has significant insecticidal properties. Known as an entomopathogen, it has natural abilities to fight against insect cells and larvae due to its lethal properties. Interestingly not lethal to humans in small amounts, fungal ribotoxins are used in foods like tofu and medicines such as penicillin.

Acting as a catalyst that produces very specific chemical reactions, the discovery of the anisoplin opens doors to the creation of biotechnological tools that could be used in the pest control industry. This is particularly useful given that traditional chemicals are becoming null and void due to certain pest species becoming immune to them.

Who Benefits from New Pest Control

Farmers are one of the main groups that could benefit from the new form of pest control discovered in the anisoplin. As insects and other pests build up resistance to chemical pest control treatments, farmers are losing crops in high quantities, which severely damages both their livelihood and the economy of the country. In addition, it is a much more environmentally friendly option than current treatments and avoids spraying crops with chemicals that will then be consumed by people.

Farmers will not be the only ones to benefit though. Ribotoxins are known to be an effective treatment against bee mites, which infest and kill honeybees. This would be an especially welcome contribution in the UK, considering our declining bee population.

The research team also believes that this discovery could fight against the spread of malaria, as it will target at least one of the mosquito species responsible for the transmission of the fatal disease.

What this Means for Top Dog

Although Top Dog Pest Control does not find itself spraying farmers’ fields given our London-based operation, it is always encouraging to hear of developments in the pest control industry.

There have been many stories in the news about super rats that use bait as a food source rather than it controlling them. Technicians at Top Dog London Pest Control have seen evidence of this and often have to implement alternative treatment. For the moment there are other options to turn to, but more options will be needed in the future.

At Top Dog Pest Control, we are also always interested in hearing about sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions.

Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London pest control services. 

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