With adult codling moths due to emerge throughout May and June, Technical Support for Arysta LifeScience UK & Ireland, Stephen Olive, discusses how devising a robust Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy is the most effective way to limit the damage from this prolific pest.

Stephen recently joined the technical team at Arysta LifeScience, specialising in vegetables, fruit and ornamental crops.

Technical Support for Arysta LifeScience UK & Ireland, Stephen Olive:

“Codling moth are extremely well known. The caterpillars bury themselves into orchard fruits such as apples and pears during mid to late summer, causing damage to a large proportion of the fruit.

Laid as eggs from June to mid-July, once hatched, the caterpillars bore into a fruit and feed for around a month until they reach adulthood.

As with many edible crops, available chemistry is limited. It is also crucial that chosen control methods are as targeted as possible so that they don’t harm beneficial insect predators, or our wider environment.

This is where Integrated Pest Management (IPM) comes in. IPM strives for long-term prevention of pests through a wider programme of tactics. These include encouraging beneficial insects and deploying biological control methods, exercising cultural control such as clearing fallen leaves, selecting resistant varieties, and finally, correct use of available chemistry.

A key factor for successful IPM for any insect pest is monitoring. Used in conjunction with a threshold level, this ensures that control is only exercised when the pest is at an economically damaging level.

For codling moth, pheromone traps are used and monitored weekly, from petal fall until harvest. The threshold is a single catch of five or more moths per trap, per week, during adult emergence. This reduces to three per trap from August onwards.

If monitoring indicates that control is required, registered biological control options should be the first port of call. Cydia pomonella Granulosis Virus (CpGV) is a naturally occurring virus of invertebrates, specifically codling moth. It is used as a registered bio-insecticide product, ingested by the larvae and replicating itself, thus controlling populations.

Because CpGV, found in Carpovirusine® by Arysta LifeScience, doesn’t affect beneficial insects or the wider environment, it can be used in conventional and organic farming and as part of IPM campaigns. Carpovirusine, which is for use on apple and pear, should be applied prior to egg hatch to ensure that the larvae are exposed to the virus as they travel from the egg to the fruit. Once CpGV has been applied and wider IPM principals exercised, if supplementary control is still required, then other registered insecticides with a different mode of action can be explored.

A robust IPM campaign should always be devised prior to the growing season. In doing so, not only does it employ a range of control tactics that reduce the risk of resistance, but it also ensures that growers are doing all they can to reduce the overall impact to the environment.”

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