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Dynamics of plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), immigration into apple orchards

Jaime Cesar Pinero, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This project focused on field evaluations of synthetic host and pheromonal odor combinations for attractiveness to plum curculios, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), with the aim of developing a monitoring device that could track the onset and extent of immigration into apple orchards, thereby maximizing plum curculio control while minimizing exposure and cost by helping growers to accurately time insecticide sprays. In a 2000 field test I screened six individual host plant volatiles, each in association with grandisoic acid (synthetic plum curculio aggregation pheromone), using panel and pyramid traps. Benzaldehyde was the most attractive host plant odor when in combination with grandisoic acid. Evaluations conducted in 2001 confirmed the attractiveness of this binary combination to both males and females across the entire period of immigration, and also revealed that benzaldehyde interacts in a synergistic manner with grandisoic acid. Additional field studies conducted in 2002 and 2003 showed that benzaldehyde at 40 mg/day of release in association with grandisoic acid at 1 mg/day of release is the most cost-effective bait combination for use in traps to monitor plum curculio immigration. I also investigated temporal dynamics of plum curculio immigration into an unsprayed section of an apple orchard over a five-year period using traps. My main goal was to determine relationships among the timing of immigration, temperature and phenological tree stage. Based on my data, I propose a pre- and a post-petal-fall period of immigration, each of which is influenced to a different extent by spring temperature. Thermal constants (expressed in Degree Days [DD] base 6.1°C, computed starting January 1st) for the start of immigration, 50th and 80th percentile of cumulative captures were 113, 249 and 412 DD, respectively. Some spatial aspects of plum curculio immigration were also studied in commercial apple orchards over a two-year period. By petal fall, most adults were found on perimeter-row trees in sprayed blocks having large trees (M.7 rootstock), but more adults were found inside of blocks than on perimeter-row trees if blocks had small trees (M.9 rootstock). Plum curculios were able to overwinter inside blocks, regardless of the presence or absence of weeds beneath trees.

Subject Area

Entomology|Plant pathology

Recommended Citation

Pinero, Jaime Cesar, "Dynamics of plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), immigration into apple orchards" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3179916.