Biological Control of Chestnut Weevil

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2019: $29,684.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Cornell University
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Denis Willett
Cornell Agritech

Project not completed due to fact that PI left Cornell and did not respond to requests to submit final report.


  • Nuts: chestnuts


  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
  • Pest Management: biological control, trap crops, traps
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, organic certification
  • Soil Management: soil chemistry

    Proposal abstract:

    American chestnut was once the dominant tree species in much of the eastern United States. Breeding efforts following the devastating chestnut blight in the early 1900s have made growing chestnuts an increasingly viable option for producers. Pest pressures still limit production, however. Lesser chestnut weevil larvae feed inside of chestnuts rendering them unmarketable and causing substantial losses. This project evaluates the viability of two biological control agents, entomopathogenic nematodes and entomopathogenic fungi, for the control of chestnut weevil. The entomopathogens have proved effective in controlling other, related, weevils. We seek to establish their effectiveness as an attractive, environmentally friendly, control option for organic chestnut production. Success in this project would remove a primary barrier to productive chestnut production and facilitate economic development in this nascent industry.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project seeks to demonstrate that biological control using entomopathogenic fungi and entomopathogenic nematodes is a viable method for control of chestnut weevil in the Northeast. Success in this project will provide producers with an environmentally friendly, effective method at increasing organic and conventional chestnut production.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.