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Historical document

Devolpment of improved lures for monitoring of codling moth in apple and pear orchards (AP02029)

Key research provider: NSW Agriculture
Publication date: June, 2003

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

A new lure based on a common flavouring agent may have held the key to successful control of a major insect pest of apples at the time.

In a move away from reliance on pesticides for control of the destructive codling moth, many Australian apple and pear growers have adopted mating disruption as an alternative control method.

Mating disruption aimed to saturate the air around trees in the orchard with a copy of the natural pheromone or scent used by female moths to attract a male to mate. Male moths then had trouble finding the female.

Egg laying was stopped or reduced so there were fewer grubs to attack the fruit.
Fruit growers using mating disruption for codling moth found they were “flying blind”. They were unable to use traditional monitoring methods of sticky traps baited with the female pheromone to follow the insect’s flight patterns during the growing season.

Researchers in the USA found that pear ester, sometimes used to flavour confectionery, was a useful attractant for codling moth.

They also found that the pear ester attracted both male and female moths, unlike the pheromone lures which drew in only males.

The new lure was tried out by NSW Agriculture staff in a Granny Smith apple orchard at Bathurst which was treated with Isomate C mating disruption dispensers.

Moth catches in sticky traps baited with either pear ester lure, also known as the DA lure, were compared with four types of high rate pheromone lures.

More than 1300 codling moths were caught in 60 traps in the 7 ha orchard. Pear ester lure attracted more moths than the four pheromone lures combined and more than half of the moths in the pear ester lure traps were females.

Another benefit of the DA or pear ester lures was that they worked in the field for at least three months. The 10x pheromone lure, used by growers trying to monitor under mating disruption, needed to be changed every two weeks.

Keeping tabs on codling moth in mating disruption blocks became more reliable and less costly as a result of the trials funded through Hort Innovation (which was then Horticulture Australia Limited).


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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Syngenta Crop Protection Pty Limited and Biocontrol Limited.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2004. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).