Spatial and temporal distribution of false codling moth across landscapes in the Citrusdal area (Western Cape Province, South Africa).

Stotter, Robert L. (2009-03)

Thesis (MScAgric (Conservation Ecology and Entomology)--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

The false codling moth (FCM), Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), is an indigenous pest of citrus fruit in southern Africa, and is a pest of high phytosanitary concern, impacting negatively on the export of fresh citrus fruit from South Africa to some international markets. FCM is a particularly serious pest in the Citrusdal area in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. FCM is known to infest most types of citrus, with navel oranges being particularly prone to attack, whereas lemons are not considered to be a favoured host. Conventional control strategies that rely on the use of insecticides are of limited use due to high levels of insecticide resistance in FCM populations. Mating disruption, the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and the integration of different control techniques are options that are currently being adopted. Little is known about FCM host preferences in this geographical area, or about its dispersal capacity. The ability of FCM to migrate between various host patches, including citrus orchards and indigenous fynbos vegetation, and its ability to maintain a viable population in alternative host plants when there is no fruit available for infestation in citrus orchards has not been well studied. Knowledge of these largely behavioural facets is important in planning an effective control strategy for FCM. Towards addressing this dearth of knowledge, FCM pheromone traps were set out in transects in the Citrusdal area. These transects included citrus orchards, and extended beyond citrus orchards, to include a range of habitat types and elevational gradients. This provided a grid to assess the spatial and temporal distribution of male FCM in the area. In addition, intensive sampling and inspection of potential host plant material was undertaken in the area in an attempt to identify any alternative host plants.

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