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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #173010

Title: Development of the most effective trap to monitor the geographical expansion of the cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae)

item Hight, Stephen
item Carpenter, James

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2005
Publication Date: 9/15/2005
Citation: Bloem, S., Hight, S.D., Carpenter, J.E., Bloem, K.A. 2005. Development of the most effective trap to monitor the geographical expansion of the cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Florida Entomologist. 88(3):300-306.

Interpretive Summary: A South American moth that attacks prickly pear cactus was found in North America for the first time in 1989. This cactus moth has spread from the Florida Keys and now occurs along the coastal areas of southeastern United States from the tip of the Florida panhandle into South Carolina. Spread of the moth into the southwestern United States and Mexico, areas that are rich in cactus diversity, is of great concern to environmentalists and agriculturalists. Scientists with USDA Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Tallahassee, FL and Crop Protection and Management Research Unit in Tifton, GA are looking into ways of monitoring the distribution and spread of this insect. Different trap designs and attributes were evaluated to develop the best moth trap. The trap that worked the best in attracting and catching male cactus moths was a standard, insect, wing trap that is unpainted, placed above ground at a height of 2 meters, and baited with four, newly emerged, female cactus moths. This trap is being developed to determine the cactus moth's distribution and to organize control efforts.

Technical Abstract: Various trap specifications were evaluated to identify the most effective trap for capturing wild male Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg). All traps were baited with virgin female C. cactorum and, except for the first comparison of trap type, a standard wing trap was used in all experiments. Although wing traps captured more males than did the other trap types (delta or bucket), the differences were not significant. However, significantly higher numbers of males were captured in wing traps placed 2m above ground than traps at 1m or 0.5m, and wing traps baited with four virgin females caught significantly three times more males than wing traps baited with a single female. Differences in number of males captured by young and old females were not significant, but more than twice as many males were captured in traps baited with one day old females than traps baited with four day old females. Also, there were no significant differences in number of males caught in unpainted wing traps and wing traps painted one of eight different colors (white, black, dark green, fluorescent green, yellow, fluorescent yellow, orange, or blue), although, more males were captured in the unpainted wing traps. The results presented here suggest that the best trap currently available to monitor C. cactorum is a standard (unpainted) wing trap, placed at a height of 2m aboveground, and baited with four newly emerged females.