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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Don't Let Cacto Blast Us: Development of a Binational Plan to Stop the Spread of the Cactus Moth, Cactoblastis Cactorum in North America

Authors
item Bloem, K - APHIS - RALEIGH, NC
item Bloem, S - RALEIGH, NC
item Carpenter, James
item Hight, Stephen
item Floyd, J - APHIS - RIVERDALE, MD
item Zimmermann, H - HZ&A - PRETORIA, S.AFRICA

Submitted to: Area-Wide Control of Insect Pests: From Research to Field Implementation
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 28, 2006
Publication Date: October 30, 2007
Citation: Bloem, K., Bloem, S., Carpenter, J., Hight, S., Floyd, J., Zimmerman, H. 2007. Don't let cacto blast us: Development of a bi-national plan to stop the spread of the cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum in North America. In: Vreysen, M.J.B., Robinson, A.S., Hendrichs. J., editors. Area-Wide Control of Insect Pests from Research to Field Implementation. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. p. 337-344.

Interpretive Summary: Since its detection in south Florida in 1989, the cactus moth has expanded its range north along the Atlantic Coast as far as Bull Island near Charleston, South Carolina, and west along the Gulf Coast as far as Dauphin Island, Alabama. Although prickly pear cactus has minor value as a food crop in the US, it has significant value as an ecological plant, adding to wildlife habitat, ecosystem structure and biodiversity in both developed and undeveloped areas. Additionally, further westward spread could lead into Mexico where prickly-pear cactus is a major agricultural commodity and has significantly larger socio-economic importance. Scientists from the USDA, Agricultural Recearch Service (ARS) and Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have now assembled a large body of knowledge about its spread in Florida and to other states, its behavior, ecology, hosts, and reproductive biology. Research also has moved quickly to develop and test a synthetic lure, trapping protocols, an artificial diet and mass-rearing techniques, and control strategies using insecticides and sterile insect releases. A Strategic Plan that identified long term programatic and funding needs was developed by APHIS in 2004. APHIS is currently funding a cooperative research program with ARS to increase detection efforts and field test the SIT as a possible means of establishing a barrier that would stop the cactus moth’s westward movement toward the US desert southwest and Mexico. Discussions are now on-going between the US and Mexico to establish a memorandum-of-understanding that would provide joint funding for a bi-national program to stop the-spread of the cactus moth in North America.

Technical Abstract: Since its detection in south Florida in 1989, the cactus moth has expanded its range north along the Atlantic Coast as far as Bull Island near Charleston, South Carolina, and west along the Gulf Coast as far as Dauphin Island, Alabama. Although prickly pear cactus has minor value as a food crop in the US, it has significant value as an ecological plant, adding to wildlife habitat, ecosystem structure and biodiversity in both developed and undeveloped areas. Additionally, further westward spread could lead into Mexico where prickly-pear cactus is a major agricultural commodity and has significantly larger socio-economic importance. Scientists from the USDA, Agricultural Recearch Service (ARS) and Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have now assembled a large body of knowledge about its spread in Florida and to other states, its behavior, ecology, hosts, and reproductive biology. Research also has moved quickly to develop and test a synthetic lure, trapping protocols, an artificial diet and mass-rearing techniques, and control strategies using insecticides and sterile insect releases. A Strategic Plan that identified long term programatic and funding needs was developed by APHIS in 2004. APHIS is currently funding a cooperative research program with ARS to increase detection efforts and field test the SIT as a possible means of establishing a barrier that would stop the cactus moth’s westward movement toward the US desert southwest and Mexico. Discussions are now on-going between the US and Mexico to establish a memorandum-of-understanding that would provide joint funding for a bi-national program to stop the-spread of the cactus moth in North America.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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