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Combined Effects of Mating Disruption, Insecticides, and the Sterile Insect Technique on Cydia pomonella in New Zealand

Rachael M. Horner , Peter L. Lo , David J. Rogers , James T. S. Walker , David Maxwell Suckling
Published: 27 November 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Insects
Insects , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11120837

Abstract: Codling moth was introduced into New Zealand, and remains a critical pest for the apple industry. Apples exported to some markets require strict phytosanitary measures to eliminate the risk of larval infestation. Mating disruption and insecticide applications are the principal means of suppression in New Zealand. We tested the potential for the sterile insect technique (SIT) to supplement these measures to achieve local eradication or suppression of this pest. SIT was trialed in an isolated group of six integrated fruit production (IFP) orchards and one organic orchard (total 391 ha), using sterilized insects imported from Canada, with release by unmanned aerial vehicle and from the ground. Eradication was not achieved across the region, but a very high level of codling moth suppression was achieved at individual orchards after the introduction of sterile moths in combination with mating disruption and larvicides. After six years of releases, catches of wild codling moths at three IFP orchards (224 ha) were 90–99% lower than in 2013–2014, the year before releases began. Catches at three other IFP orchards (129 ha) decreased by 67–97% from the year before releases began (2015–2016), from lower initial levels. At a certified organic orchard with a higher initial population under only organic larvicides and mating disruption, by 2019–2020, there was an 81% reduction in wild moths capture from 2016–2017, the year before releases began.
Keywords: Unmanned aerial vehicle / Lepidoptera / eradication / synergistic / Cydia pomonella / Suppression / market access / biosecurity / mating disruption / Tortricidae / sterile insect technique / orchard

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