Monitoring and action threshold determination for the obscure mealybug Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) using pheromone-baited traps
The absence of effective pest monitoring has resulted in an increase in populations of the obscure mealybug Pseudococcus viburni (Signoret) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in pome fruit orchards in the Western Cape Province of South Africa recently. The sex pheromone for P. viburni was recently identified and synthesized. Flight activity of adult male P. viburni was monitored by placing and servicing three, evenly spaced pheromone-baited traps per orchard in three pome fruit growing regions used for the study. Fortnightly fruit sampling was done by randomly picking three fruits per tree for the duration of each fruit season, dissecting and noting mealybug infestation. The biweekly male P. viburni trap catch information and fruit infestation data collected over two seasons were correlated. There was a positive and significant relationship between the fruit infestation and number of P. viburni adult males caught in pheromone-baited traps (r2 = 0.454, P < 0.001). The action threshold level was estimated to be 2.5 male P. viburni caught per trap per fortnight at an economic threshold of 2% fruit infestation. This monitoring method was less labor intensive, more accurate and quicker than the current visual sampling and monitoring techniques. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.