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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #195038


item Knight, Alan

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/14/2006
Publication Date: 12/5/2006
Citation: Knight, A.L. 2006. Multiple-mating of male and female codling moth (lepidoptera: tortricidae) in apple orchards treated with sex pheromone. Environmental Entomology. 36:157-164.

Interpretive Summary: The codling moth is the key pest of apple orchards in the Western United States. The effectiveness of using the sex pheromone of codling moth to manage populations in orchards is assumed to be due to either reductions in moth mating or a delay in mating that reduces the number of eggs laid over the life of the female moth. Studies were conducted to examine the occurrence and potential impact of preventing female moths from mating more than once in sex pheromone-treated orchards. Scientists at the USDA-ARS Laboratory, Wapato, Washington demonstrated that female moths that mate three times do lay more eggs. The occurrence of multiple-mated female moths in sex pheromone-treated orchards was found to be much less than in untreated orchards and thus this contributes to reductions in this pest. Field data also suggested that experienced males mate most female moths and this suggests that a new approach is needed to better disrupt the sexual communication of this important insect pest.

Technical Abstract: Studies were conducted with codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.), to evaluate the mating status of male and female moths in apple, Malus domestica (Borkhausen), orchards treated with and without sex pheromone dispensers. Laboratory studies first examined the effect of multiple mating of male and female moths on female fecundity and egg fertility. Females that had mated three times had a significantly higher fecundity than single-mated moths. Sequential mating by male moths had no effect on the fecundity of female moths or egg fertility. However, male moth age did impact female fecundity with significantly fewer eggs laid following mating with virgin 1-d-versus 3-d-old males. The mean size of the first spermatophore transferred by males was significantly larger than all subsequent spermatophores. Classifying spermatophores based on size (< 1.5 mm or > 1.5 mm) was used in field sampling to categorize the mating status of the female’s partner. The proportion of female moths caught in traps baited with pear ester that were virgin was low (< 0.26) in both treated and untreated orchards. The proportion of females with more than a single spermatophores was low (< 0.06) in treated orchards all season, and during first moth flight in untreated orchards (0.11). Nearly one-third of female moths, however, had more than a single spermatophore in untreated orchards during the second moth flight. The proportion of mated females with small spermatophores (< 1.5 mm) was significantly higher in treated versus untreated orchards.