Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2000
Publication Date: 3/1/2001
Interpretive Summary: The tomato pinworm is a serious pest of tomatoes in Florida, California, and Mexico. Larvae may damage foliage by leaf mining and leaf rolling, but most damage occurs when larvae bore into fruit. Fruit losses can reach up to 100%. Growers routinely apply broad spectrum insecticides to avoid these potential losses; however, the insect has developed resistance to some of these insecticides. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, FL, are working to devise new strategies to control this important pest that are environmentally-friendly and cost effective. In the early 1980's mating disruption was shown to be a feasible technique for managing tomato pinworm. However, the technology was used very little because applying the formulated pheromone material, a mixture of micro fibers and glue-like adhesive, was labor intensive, difficult and messy. Four new types of dispensers that do not require adhesives and a micro-encapsulated, sprayable formulation of tomato pinworm sex pheromone were compared for efficacy and longevity when applied to staked fresh market on commercial farms near Ruskin and Darby, FL. All formulations evaluated were as effective as the fiber/adhesive standard for control of mating by tomato pinworm. Two of the formulations evaluated, a spiral dispenser similar to a section of telephone cord and the micro-encapsulated, sprayable formulation subsequently were registered for managing tomato pinworm through mating disruption. Thus, growers now have available effective, viable alternatives to the difficult to apply fiber/adhesive formulation and conventional insecticides for managing tomato pinworm. The new formu- lations are cost effective, safe for workers and environmentally-benign.
Technical Abstract: The tomato pinworm, Keiferia lycopersicella (Walsingham), is a major pest of tomatoes in Florida but is manageable with the mating disruption technique. Four types of dispensers and a micro-encapsulated (MEC) liquid formulation were compared with a control and the standard fiber/adhesive formulation for disrupting mating in two replicated experiments in commercial tomato fields in 1992. A laminate tag, the MEC and another liquid formulation also were compared with a control in three replicated experiments at the Gulf Coast Research & Education Center during 1996-97. Virgin sentinel females were used in 1992 and pheromone traps were used in all experiments to estimate efficacy of each dispenser or formulation. In 1992 all dispensers and the MEC formulation were as effective as the standard fiber/adhesive formulation. Some dispensers completely inhibited mating up to 6 weeks while the fiber/adhesive formulation completely inhibited mating 4 weeks. In all experiments some dispensers reduced trap catches below the established threshold of 5 moths/trap/night for 5-11 weeks while liquid formulations reduced trap catches at or below the threshold for 4-11 weeks. The fiber/adhesive formulation reduced trap catches below the threshold for 5-8 weeks. Thus, easy to apply dispensers and liquid formulations were found to be viable alternatives to the difficult to apply fiber/adhesive formulation.