Predator Cuts Grain Losses in Africa

Semifield trials show a Central American predator controls the African larger grain borer. In about three months, 70 % of the borers were killed by the beetle Teretriosoma nigrescens, saving about 50 % of the stored grain.

T. nigrescens feeds primarily on the larger grain borer but can survive for long periods of time without the borer or any food at all, except for limited amounts of vegetable matter. The beetle is attracted to the borer by smells or pheromones, then kills it both in and out of grain stores.

Discovery of the beetle resulted from work done by GTZ, the German Agency for Technical Cooperation. GTZ scientists have been looking for a way to biologically control the larger grain borer since 1984. When they compared borer habitats in Costa Rica and Africa, they discovered the beetle predator which is not found in Africa.

Excerpted from ‘The Farming World’ program, a weekly broadcast of the BBC World Service.