The olive tree is for economic, social, environmental and landscape reasons extremely important crop for Mediterranean basin countries and Portugal isnâ€™t an exception. There are different pests that attack olives causing important damages that justify the adoption of control measures for their control. In general and on olives in particular, insecticide application is the control strategy that dominates. However, different problems are associated to this control strategy from environment pollution, appearance of resistance in some pests, suppression of natural enemies, and presence of residues in food among others. In the last decades a new approach has been reviewed, following the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles, with priority is given to alternative control methods to chemical control. In the presented context, in the last 15 years, the IPBraganÃ§a research team was devoted their action in the study of population dynamics of olive pests, in the identification and action of biocontrol agents, in the influence of different protection regimes on pests and their antagonists and in the no-chemical control methods, with special reference to olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae Gmel., and olive moth, Prays oleae Bern., considered the key pests of olive tree in Portugal.
The available alternative methods for pest control not shown sufficient efficacy justifying the research and development of new control methods reliable with the protection of natural enemies, the environment and consumers in general. The use of entomopathogenic fungi (EF) as biological control agent has shown high potential against important pests. Some works were developed with EF use against the olive fly. However, the first report regarding EF in olive moth was recently presented by authors of this proposal. The survey of local stains of EF, and knowledge about their diversity is an important aspect making to account in consideration in the adoption of conservation measures and its decision to apply as biocontrol agents. Recognizing this importance we initiate EF survey in olive fly and olive moth being characterized 12 Beauveria bassiana stains. Accordingly, we intend to proceed to the EF isolation from olive fly and olive moth, to make the morphological and molecular characterization of EF native satins and to assess their abundance and diversity.