Location: Commodity Protection and Quality
Project Number: 2034-43000-038-00
Start Date: May 10, 2013
End Date: Jul 12, 2015
Postharvest insects cause significant economic loss to the agricultural sector, both through direct damage by feeding or product contamination, and by the cost of control programs. The export trade of certain horticultural products may be affected as well, with importing countries requiring quarantine treatments to prevent the introduction of exotic pests. Of particular concern to agriculture in the Western U.S. are field pests such as the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae), navel orangeworm (Amyelois transitella), various mealybugs, and codling moth (Cydia pomonella), and storage pests such as the Indianmeal moth (Plodia interpunctella). Processors rely largely on chemical fumigants such as methyl bromide for insect disinfestation, but regulatory, environmental and safety concerns mandate the development of non-chemical alternatives. This project addresses this problem with a broad collaborative approach, examining both preharvest, biologically based control strategies as well as physical postharvest disinfestation treatments. Areas of investigation include the development of attract and kill traps for control of olive fruit fly, improved field control of navel orangeworm through mating disruption, mass trapping, sanitation and entomopathogenic nematodes, control of vineyard mealybugs through reduction of ant populations, combining forced hot air with controlled atmospheres to disinfest walnuts of codling moth, and the potential of the parasitoid Habrobracon hebetor as a natural control agent for navel orangeworm and Indianmeal moth. New, non-chemical methods for control of these economically important pests will be the outcome of this research.