Laboratory and greenhouse evaluation of Melia volkensii extracts for potency against African sweet potato weevil, Cylas puncticollis, and fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda.
The African sweet potato weevil, Cylas puncticollis, and fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, are insect pests of economic importance that have a negative impact on sweet potato and maize production, respectively. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential of Melia volkensii extracts to protect sweet potato and maize plants against damage by both insect pests. We evaluated extracts from the bark, leaves, pulp and nuts of Melia volkensii for antifeedant activity against C. puncticollis and S. exigua (used as a substitute for S. frugiperda), under laboratory conditions. Interestingly, extracts of all plant parts showed antifeedant activity. These results led us to investigate the effectiveness of nut and pulp extracts to protect sweet potato and maize crops in greenhouse conditions. Against C. puncticollis, the sweet potato plants treated with nut extracts showed the lowest tuber damage (18%) when compared to pulp extracts (30%), positive control (33%) and negative control (76%). Nut extracts, pulp extracts and positive control reduced maize leaf and whorl damage by S. frugiperda compared to the negative control. Altogether, this study highlights the potential of M. volkensii extracts and their application in integrated insect pest management.