Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2009 Trial Results From the Use of Pheromone Disruption to Control Codling Moth in Bayfield, WI Area Apple Orchards

 

Codling moth is one of three major insect pests of apples in the northern Illinois, Wisconsin and particularly the Bayfield fruit growing
region of northern Wisconsin. The female adult moths lay their eggs on or near developing apples and the larvae tunnel into the apple and become the classic worm in the apple. Apples attacked by codling moth are unfit for sale. There are typically two generations per year in Il and WI with a peak flight in late-June and again in mid-August.  Producing quality apples requires managing codling moth, usually with a conventional or organic chemical spray program.

In cooperation with the Bayfield apple growers, a two-step codling moth control program is underway to help growers reduce the number of spray applications for codling moth.

Step 1: Removing Abandoned Apple Trees to Reduce Codling Moth Populations

Step 2: Using Mating Disruption to Prevent Egg-Laying

Download the research bulletin here:
Download file

The two-step codling moth control program appears to be working for Bayfield growers and should provide an alternative or supplement to the typical chemical control programs. However, because there are other insect pests in the orchards at the same time as the codling moth, the pheromone disruption will not eliminate the need for spraying. Treatments for apple maggot or plum curculio  will likely be necessary with the added benefit of providing some codling moth control. However, as was the experience of the growers in 2009, the pheromone disruption can reduce the number of sprays needed and can allow the growers to target the other pests. The goal of the research project in 2010 is to trial the pheromone disruption on a wider scale.

We have not yet adopted the use of pheromone disruption at Royal Oak Farm but have opted instead to make use of a new product called Virosoft that is a 100% ecological solution. Virosoft is a biological, natural baculovirus which specifically and exclusively attacks the target pest. Virosoft is absolutely harmless to all other members of the ecosystem, including humans. Because of the success of this product we have not had to apply any sprays in the month of August when growers would normally apply at least one timed spray.  But pheromone disruption is beginning to look like another alternative for apple growers as a means of reducing the use of chemical controls.

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