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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: STERILE INSECT CONTROL OF INVASIVE PESTS, WITH A FOCUS ON MOTHS

Location: Crop Protection and Management Research

Title: Artificial diets for classical weed biocontrol agents-it's been done. The Cactoblastis cactorum story in the USA

Author
item Carpenter, James

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Congress of the Entomological Society Of Southern Africa
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 2011
Publication Date: September 19, 2011
Citation: Carpenter, J.E. 2011. Artificial diets for classical weed biocontrol agents-it's been done. The Cactoblastis cactorum story in the USA. Proceedings of the Congress of the Entomological Society Of Southern Africa. p.23.

Technical Abstract: The South American cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) is celebrated for its role as a biological control agent for weedy Opuntia spp., but its unintentional arrival in North America represents an economic and ecological threat to native Opuntia spp. in the U. S. and Mexico. Implementation of C. cactorum as a biological control agent in Australia and South Africa required disseminating large numbers of eggs into the field where unwanted Opuntias were invasive. This was largely accomplished by mass rearing C. cactorum in cages provisioned with excised Opuntia cladodes. To mitigate the economic and ecological threat of C. cactorum to native Opuntia spp. in North America, large numbers of C. cactorum were needed to support the development of survey tools such as lures and traps and control tactics such as insecticides and the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). Mass-rearing C. cactorum in numbers sufficient to fully implement the SIT required a suitable artificial medium and efficacious laboratory rearing protocols. We conducted a series of experiments to investigate the use of different protein sources for artificial diets, and the relationship between increasing concentrations of selected diet additives on developmental and reproductive parameters of the cactus moth. Disease abatement was achieved through the establishment of a filter colony. Research findings were used to develop and transfer technology to the Cactus Moth Bi-National Abatement Program. This program has successfully eradicated the pest from Mexico and mitigated westward movement in the U. S.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014