The flight activity of Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae) and Teretrius nigrescens Lewis (Coleoptera: Histeridae) in Kenya
Omondi, Bonaventure Aman
Van den Berg, Johann
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The invasive storage pest, the larger grain borer (LGB) Prostephanus truncatus (Horn), was introduced into the maize-deficit, semi-arid areas of the eastern region in Kenya in the early 1980s. In spite of containment efforts and the introduction of the predator Teretrius nigrescens Lewis from Mexico, LGB has spread to the main maize production zone in western Kenya during the past five years. The present work presents results from a 28-month monitoring effort of LGB and its predator, using pheromone traps at five locations along an east-west transect across Kenya. LGB occurred in all regions with highest trap catches in the high potential maize production zones in Western Kenya. T. nigrescens had not spread to western Kenya and trap catches were very low and mostly zero in Eastern Kenya, even in the area where it was released during the 1990s, suggesting that it became locally extinct after initial establishment. LGB flight activity was closely related to relative humidity, temperature and vapour pressure deficit. A model based on climatic factors accurately predicted seasonal trends of LGB flight behaviour in Kakamega and Mombasa but not in Kitale and Thika. It was concluded that models that rely on the direct effect of climate cannot predict LGB flight accurately enough to allow assessment of the impact of T. nigrescens on a regional basis. It is suggested that other factors such as the availability of stored grain and thus the indirect effect of climate via enhanced or reduced crop production play a major role in the flight activity of LGB and T. nigrescens.