Role of Insect Diseases in Managing the European Corn Border
Disease is what ever goes wrong with an insect and signifies a departure from the state of health or normality (Steinhaus 1949). Diseases can be categorized as infectious or noninfectious. An infectious disease results from invasion by a living microorganism whereas a noninfectious disease is any ailment in which a microorganism is not involved. Insect pathology is the study of diseases in insects and a component of the broader discipline of biological control i.e., management of pest insects with living organisms. There are four general groups of microorganisms that are routinely studied in insect pathology. They are: bacteria, viruses, fungi and microspora. An example of the fungi and an example of the microspora will be discussed herein because these disease causing agents occur naturally in populations of the European com borer whereas bacteria and viruses will not be discussed because they do not usually occur in wild populations of the European com borer. Disease-causing organisms can be indigenous or exogenous. Indigenous pathogens are present in the insect ecosystem whereas exogenous ones are introduced. The impact of two disease causing organisms (both indigenous), a fungus, Beauveria bassiana and a microspora, Nosema pyrausta on management of the European com borer will be discussed.