Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Fruit and Vegetable Insect Research

2009 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Objective 1. Develop new knowledge of life history, behavior, genetics, physiology, and ecology of CM, leafrollers, pear psylla, cherry fruit fly, apple maggot, secondary pests, and their natural enemies that provide opportunities for new and improved bio-rational management of tree fruit insect pests. Objective 2. Develop monitoring methods and techniques that provide information to growers on the presence and threat level from pear psylla and CM. Objective 3. Develop biorational and sustainable methods for control of CM, leafrollers, pear psylla, and fruit fly pests of tree fruits. Objective 4. Develop and refine postharvest treatments for quarantine and phytosanitation pests to maintain or increase domestic and foreign markets of deciduous tree fruit. Objective 5. Develop and evaluate multicomponent systems approach where accumulative effects of different processes suitable for commercial operations reduce or eliminate postharvest arthropod pests.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Objective 1. Determine foods used by fruit flies over nature. Determine local movement patterns of fruit flies. Evaluate nutritional requirements of fruit flies. Characterize pear psylla behavioral responses to psylla and pear odors. Determine impact of insecticides on codling moth development by looking at mating and oviposition following exposures. Anthocoroid predators of psylla will be studied to determine behavioral, morphological, and molecular differences among species. Monoclonal antibodies and PCR techniques will be used to identify pear psylla consumed by predators. New methods for moving and stabilizing genes will be evaluated for use against codling moth. Objective 2. Formulations and chemicals for feeding attractant and kairomone lures will be tested for fruit flies. Arena and flight tunnel assays, GC-EAD and GC-MS will be used to isolate and identify new kairomonal attractans and pheromones for psylla and codling moth. Objective 3. New formulations will be developed for virus and nematode pathogens of insects. Baits and insecticides will be modified and formulated for killing fruit flies. Dispensers, formulations, and strategies for codling moth mating disruption will be evaluated. Objective 4. Basic and applied studies will be conducted to determine the efficacy of postharvest treatments to control various arthropod pests on temperate tree fruits. Tests will be conducted on the most susceptible resistant life stage. The test of suitability will be efficacious control with acceptable fruit. Phytotoxic effects will be measured in collaboration with other research facilities. Objective 5. Applied studies in the laboratory, in orchards, and in commercial facilities will be conducted to evaluate the accumulative impact of various operations for reducing postharvest pests. These processes include, but are not limited to field control, host status, commodity shorting and culling, pest detection and computerized selection, inspection, baths and packing lines and storage conditions. Treatments could also be added during the postharvest process. Formerly 5352-22000-015-00D (3/05). 5352-43000-010-00D combined into this project. (2/08)

3.Progress Report
Cherry fruit flies fed spinosad bait (GF-120), were able to lay eggs after feeding on the bait. However, the flies fed spinosad bait with the neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam added did not lay eggs. This bait might keep flies from infesting cherries. The same fly species fed more on bait with more nitrogen, which increased egg production, shortened lifespan, and reduced fly attraction to the bait. The pupal stage of the fly was exposed to an insecticidal fungus called Muscador albus, killing many pupae in the soil and delaying the emergence of the rest of the flies. Sex attraction in the pear psylla was demonstrated, the pheromone was isolated in a solvent extract, the female specific compounds were tested in lab and field tests, and a synthetic pheromone was demonstrated in the field as a trap lure. Experiments were conducted on codling moth attract and kill stations baited with pheromone, and the effectiveness was determined of a clear plastic trap for moth pests of apple. The volatiles from different varieties of apple and pear fruits were characterized and evaluated using a technique called gas chromatography-electroantenrogram (GC-EAD) to determine codling moth antennal responses (sense of smell). Pheromones were field tested in traps for attractiveness to two species of cutworms and an attractant for codling moth was improved through optimization of dose, ratio, and trap design. Low-volume sprays of acetamiprid combined with sex pheromone, and microencapsulated pheromone with pear ester and a pesticide, were evaluated in the field to control codling moth. Combinations of fruit odor chemicals and acetic acid were evaluated as lures for codling moth and tortricid leafrollers. Levels of insecticide resistance and their associated metabolic enzyme activities were surveyed in several codling moth populations. Molecular cloning and biochemical techniques were used to identify and characterize potential physiological targets critical for codling moth survival. Protein targets, potentially important in codling moth growth and development, mating and reproduction, and diapause, have been identified. Enzyme assays were developed to monitor for the potential development of insecticide resistance among codling moth populations. An antibody technique was used to detect pear psylla remains in the guts of insect and spider predators. A protein spray was used to mark insects walking on sprayed plants so they could be tracked as they move. A DNA test was used to determine the relatedness of several closely related species of bug that are predators of pest pear psylla and to determine relatedness among global populations of codling moth our key pest in pome fruits. Orchard cover crops were evaluated for their effects on the movement and feeding of predators of pear insect pests. Aspects of the biology of several pear psylla predators were determined. Morphometric techniques discriminated two species of fruit flies, apple maggot and snowberry maggot, that are nearly identical in appearance. Apple maggot is a pest but snowberry maggot is not. Body measurements used were head width, wing length, leg lengths, length of genitalia, and wing shapes.

1. Sex Pheromone for Monitoring of Pear Psylla. Pear growers need a method for monitoring the pest pear psylla, in order to determine if control measures are warranted to protect the pear crop. ARS researchers at the Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, WA, in cooperation with researchers at the University of California, Riverside, identified compounds from the female psylla that are attractive to males. The sex pheromone was then used as a lure in a trap for the males. This lure together with a suitable trap should be useful to pear growers throughout the U.S. as a way to monitor for the presence and abundance of the pest in their orchards.

2. Codling Moth Control with Nematodes. Sustainable, organic, and environmentally compatible methods are needed to manage codling moth on apple and pear. New formulations of entomopathogenic nematodes were evaluated by ARS scientists in Wapato, WA for control of overwintering larvae of the codling moth in mulch and on tree trunks. A “wood flour” formulation significantly controlled codling moth better than applications in water alone. A lesser degree of efficacy was observed with nematodes in a biodegradable gel. Both formulations were applied under warm and dry conditions. Such formulations of pathogens often improved efficacy to control this pest without negative impacts of pesticide applications.

3. Wing Shape Discriminates Apple and Snowberry Maggot Flies. Apple maggot fly is an economically important pest in apples that look very similar to snowberry maggot which is not a pest because it attacks apples. Size characters used to separate apple maggot from snowberry maggot are not 100% reliable so additional characters that can be used when size alone is insufficient are needed. ARS scientists in Wapato, WA used Morphometric techniques to discriminate apple maggot and snowberry maggot. Body measurements used were head width, wing length, leg lengths, length of genitalia, and wing shapes.The positive identification of the two flies can eliminate mistakes made in quarantining areas that have snowberry and not apple maggot flies, thus allowing access to export markets.

4. Determination of the Sex of Codling Moth Eggs and Early Larvae. There is a need to determine which genes are involved in early sex differentiation of codling moth to provide new control strategies. ARS scientists in Wapato, WA isolated RNA from male and female embryos and early larval stages. External sexual differentiation is not possible until midway through larval development. Sex specific segments of the Z and W chromosomes were identified and employed to make an early detection assay of female and male embryos and early larval stages. Identification of specific genes involved in early sex determination will provide targets for interference, disruption or other approaches to control this and other Lepidopterous pests.

5. Temperature and Controlled Atmospheres Alter Codling Moth Metabolism. High temperatures in combination with low oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide environments control codling moth in harvested apples, pears and stone fruits. The mechanism by which this is accomplished is not understood. ARS scientists in Wapato, WA determined the effects of a combination of heat and controlled atmosphere conditions on codling moth metabolism by monitoring insect metabolic rates. Low oxygen environments inhibited the ability of codling moth to respond to increasing temperatures and high levels of carbon dioxide blocked the insect’s ability to utilize energy. The combination of low oxygen and high carbon dioxide worked synergetically to inhibit codling moth from metabolically adapting to the high temperatures. This information will aid in the development of more effective postharvest quarantine treatments using heat and controlled atmospheres for not only codling moth but for other insects of quarantine concern.

6. Insecticide Mix Prevents Egg Laying by Cherry Fruit Fly. Cherry fruit fly is a major quarantine pest of cherries, as there is a zero tolerance for larvae in marketed fruit. Insecticide sprays are targeted against the young flies before they develop and can lay eggs. However, flies that are mature and capable of laying eggs can fly into orchards and infest cherries even after contacting the insecticide sprays currently being used, indicating more effective materials are needed to keep these flies from laying eggs. ARS scientists from Wapato, WA found that a mix of spinosad and the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam when ingested can prevent flies from laying eggs into cherries, whereas the current material used, spinosad bait, cannot. The use of a spinosad and thiamethoxam mix can reduce the problem of cherry fly moving into orchards from outside sources and can be part of a systems approach for export of cherries.

7. High Nitrogen Diets Increases Egg Production, Compromises Survival, and Increases Responses to Spinosad Bait in Cherry Fruit Fly. Cherry fruit fly is a major quarantine pest of cherries, as there is a zero tolerance for larvae in marketed fruit. An understanding of the nutritional ecology of the fly may help with fly control using bait sprays or can help suggest ways to improve the use of these sprays. ARS scientists in Wapato, WA found nitrogen diets influence all aspects of fly biology, as high concentrations of nitrogen increased survival, but reduced longevity, and decreased responses to spinosad bait, which is used for fly control. Results suggest that cases where 100% fly control is not achieved may be because flies have fed on large amounts of nitrogen-rich food. If so, improved baits or methods of spray application that can stimulate feeding and therefore kill these flies are needed. These potentially can become part of a systems approach for export of cherries.

8. Predation of Pear Psylla. Insect predators control pest insects in most cropping systems. However, it is difficult to evaluate their value because by consuming their prey they erase the evidence and many predators also eat non-pest prey. These factors make it difficult to determine which predators are important in suppressing key pests. Using an antibody assay, ARS scientists in Wapato, WA found that two of six predators showed the highest rate of feeding on pear psylla, and the feeding amount tracked psylla abundance in a pear orchard. We are currently using the antibody to determine if predator abundance and feeding on psylla is enhanced by alternative prey in alfalfa groundcover in pear orchard compared to grass ground covers. With improved knowledge of which predators are important and when they occur in the orchard during the year we can modify orchard habitats and pesticide-use practices in ways to maximize pest control by predation.

6.Technology Transfer

Number of New CRADAS1
Number of Active CRADAs1
Number of Invention Disclosures Submitted2

Review Publications
Miliczky, E., Horton, D.R., Calkins, C.O. 2008. Observations on Phenology and Overwintering of Spiders Associated with Apple and Pear Orchards in South Central Washington. Journal of Arachnology 36:565-573.

Yee, W.L., Goughnour, R.B. 2008. Host Plant Use by and New Host Records of Apple Maggot, Western Cherry Fruit Fly, and Other Rhagoletis Species (Diptera: Tephritidae). I. Central Washington State. Pan Pacific Entomology 84(3):179-193.

Yee, W.L. 2008. Host plant use by apple maggot, western cherry fruit fly, and other rhagoletis species (diptera: tephritidae): in central washington state. Pan Pacific Entomology 84(3):163-178.

Yee, W.L. 2008. Mortality of Rhagoletis indifferens exposed to hydrolyzed protein baits and spinosad in the absence and presence of yeast extract. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 129:77-86.

Horton, D.R., Lewis, T.M., Thomsen Archer, K.L., Unruh, T.R. 2008. Morphology, Genetics, and Male mating Success Compared Between Anthocoris musculus and Anthocoris antevolens (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Anthocoridae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 110(4)pp 960-977.

Yee, W.L., Chapman, P.S. 2008. Seasonal Amounts of Nutrients in Western Cherry Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) and Their Relation to Nutrient Availability on Cherry Plant Surfaces. Environmental Entomology 37:1086-1098.

Knight, A.L., Larsen, T.E. 2008. Creating Point Sources for Codling Moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) with Low-Volume Sprays of a Microencapsulated Sex Pheromone Formulation. Environmental Entomology 37(5):1136-1144.

Lacey, L.A., Horton, D.R., Jones, D.C., Headrick, H.L., Neven, L.G. 2009. Efficacy of the Biofumigant Fungus Muscodor albus (Ascomycota: Xylariales) for Control of Codling Moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in Simulated Storage Conditions. Journal of Economic Entomology 102:43-49.

Guedot, C.N., Horton, D.R., Landolt, P.J. 2009. Attraction of Male Winterform Pear Psylla to Female-produced Volatiles and to Female Extracts and Evidence of Male-Male Repellency. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 130:191-197.

Neven, L.G., Yahida, E., Hallman, G.J. 2009. Effects on Insects. In: Modified and Controlled Atmospheres for the Storage, Transportation, and Packaging of Horticultural Commodities, E.M. Yahia (eds), CRC Press Taylor & Franics Group, Boca Raton-London-New York. pp 233-266.

Fukova, I., Neven, L.G., Barcenas, N.M., Gund, N.A., Dalikova, M. 2009. Rapid Assessment of the Sex of Codling Moth, Cydia pomonella. Journal of Applied Entomology 133:249-261.

Landolt, P.J., Reed, H.C., Landolt, K.N., Monzon Sierra, J., Zack, R.S. 2009. The Southern Yellowjacket, Vespula squamosa (Drury) (Hymenoptera: vespidae) in Guatemala, Central America. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 111(2):426-432.

Brown, R.L., Landolt, P.J., Horton, D.R., Zack, R.S. 2009. Attraction of Cacopsylla pyricola (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) to Female Psylla in Pear Orchards. Environmental Entomology 38(3):815-822.

Hollingsworth, R.G., Chastagner, G.A., Reimer, N.J., Oishi, D.E., Landolt, P.J., Paull, R.E. 2009. Use of shaking treatments and pre-harvest sprays of pyrethroid insecticides to reduce risk of yellowjackets and other insects on Christmas trees imported into Hawaii. Journal of Economic Entomology., Volume 102. pp. 69-78.

Arthurs, S., Lacey, L.A., Behle, R.W. 2008. Evaluation of Lignins and Particle Films as Solar Protectants for the Granulovirus of the Codling Moth, Cydia pomonella. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 18:829-839.

Horton, D.R., Jones, V.P., Unruh, T.R. 2009. Use of a New Immunomarking Method to Assess Movement by Generalist Predators Between a Cover Crop and Tree Canopy in a Pear Orchard. American Entomologist. Vol 55(1):49-56.

Yee, W.L. 2009. Insecticide, Sugar and Diet Effects on Feeding and Mortality in Rhagoletis indifferens (Dipt., Tephritidae). Journal of Applied Entomology 133:297-306.

Lacey, L.A., Thomson, D., Vincent, C., Arthurs, S.P. 2008. Codling Moth Granulovirus: A Comprehensive Review. Biocontrol Science and Technology, 18:639-663.

Mackenzie, J.K., Landolt, P.J., Zack, R.S. 2008. Sex attraction in polistes dominulus demonstrated using olfactometers and morphological source extracts. Journal of British Columbia Entomological Society 105:35-43.

Landolt, P.J. 2009. New Geographic Records for Tobacco Budworm, Heliothis virescens (Fabricius)(Lepidoptera:Noctuidae), in the Pacific Northwest. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 84(3):246-248.

Last Modified: 4/24/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page