Mass release of Trichogramma evanescens and T. cacoeciae can reduce damage by the apple codling moth Cydia pomonella in organic orchards under pheromone disruption

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Cydia pomonella is a major pest in apples in Denmark. Trichogramma spp. are known biocontrol agents of C. pomonella eggs and two naturally occurring species in Denmark, which are also both commercially available, were chosen for mass-release trials. Trichogramma evanescens, T. cacoeciae or a mix of the two species were evaluated for mass-release to control C. pomonella in two commercial organic apple orchards, one in 2012 and one in 2013, using a complete randomized block design. Pheromone disruption was used in both orchards, making the study one of the first to evaluate Trichogramma release under a mating disruption regime. Trichogramma activity was assessed using bait cards with Sitotroga cerealella eggs. The percent C. pomonella damaged fruit was recorded and the fruit yield was estimated. In 2012 cool and wet weather conditions resulted in low Trichogramma activity (<16% bait cards parasitized) and only T. evanescens was recovered from bait cards. The conditions in 2013 were warmer but T. evanescens was still >10 times more frequently found in bait cards than T. cacoeciae. There was a significant effect of the treatment and year (p = 0.009) and of the sampling period (p = 0.0008) on Trichogramma activity (proportion bait cards parasitized), with no significant difference between treatments in 2012. In 2013 the highest activity was found in T. evanescens and mixed treatments, in July reaching 69% and 47% bait cards parasitized, respectively. Fruit damage was highest in the control plots (7.1%) compared with Trichogramma treatments (T. evanescens 2.8%, T. cacoeciae 3.8%, mixed 3.3%) (p = 0.028). Yield did not differ significantly between treatments. In conclusion, Trichogramma mass release is a promising biocontrol method for use in the Danish climate, but further studies are needed regarding the performance of the two Trichogramma species (and potential other Trichogramma species) towards C. pomonella eggs in the field to identify the best biocontrol candidate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Issue number2
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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