DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVEMENT OF INTEGRATED CONTROL TACTICS FOR THE CONTAINMENT OF CACTOBLASTIS CACTORUM
Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit
Project Number: 6615-22000-026-04
Start Date: Oct 01, 2008
End Date: Sep 30, 2012
The broad objective of this project is to improve survey and control tactics for Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyraliade), an invasive cactus-feeding moth that has rapidly expanded its geographical range along both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, invaded the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, and threatens the Opuntia-based agriculture and ecosystems in the southwestern USA and Mexico. Specific objectives of this project are to optimize trap efficiency and pheromone lure, to improve implementation of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), to develop knowledge of additional control tactics that can be integrated into the containment of this pest at the leading edge of its geographical range and the eradication of this pest at point infestations that may occur beyond the leading edge.
This study will include: (1) conduct field studies to characterize factors affecting trap efficiency and to develop methods for trap calibration, (2) conduct laboratory and field trials to identify and evaluate additional sex pheromone components and pheromone blends for use as a trap lure, (3) conduct mark-release-recapture trials to evaluate the influence of storage and transportation protocols, release methodology, and release frequency on the competitiveness and dispersal ability of sterile moths, (4) evaluate the performance of artificial diets and mass rearing protocols for improved sterile insect production, and (5) conduct life table studies on C. cactorum and its natural enemies to identify mortality factors limiting population growth and to identify differences between the native and adventive ranges of the pest.