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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Manipulating Host and Mate-Finding Behavior of the Plum Curculio: Development of a Multi-Life Stage Management Strategy

Location: Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement and Protection

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Specifically, we will: (1) isolate and identify attractive olfactory stimuli associated with host- and mate-finding for adult plum curculio using gas chromatography coupled with electroantennogram detection (GC-EAD) and mass spectrometry (MS); (2) develop effective deployment strategies for newly identified olfactory stimuli to manipulate host- and mate-finding behavior and promote aggregation of the plum curculio within commercial apple orchards; (3) evaluate efficacy of entomopathogenic nematodes against PC larvae; (4) evaluate efficacy of a multi-life stage approach for management of PC within spatially precise locations within commercial apple orchards; and (5) actively promote outreach and information exchange among interested stakeholders, crop consultants, state IPM research and extension programs, and federal researchers.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
We will utilize laboratory-based electrophysiological studies and field-based bioassays to identify novel olfactory stimuli for the plum curculio. We will also perform laboratory- and field-based studies to identify effective entomopathogenic nematodes. Final evaluations will be conducted in commercial orchards.

"Specialty Crops Research Initiative".


3.Progress Report:

Currently, we have initiated studies under Objectives 1, 2, 3, and 5. Under Objective 1, we have begun to isolate and identify attractive olfactory stimuli associated with host- and mate-finding for adult PC using new electrophysiological techniques. We have identified trans-2-hexenal, an electrophysiologically active compound. For Objective 2, we have deployed trap trees in six commercial orchards in New England. In this case, the standard bait formulation of the aggregation pheromone grandisoic acid in combination with benzaldehyde was compared with trap trees augmented with trans-2-hexenal. We found that trans-2-hexenal actually decreased aggregation and we are now trying to use this as part of a push-pull system. Under Objective 3, efficacy of entomopathogenic nematode strains found to be effective against PC larvae in the lab were also evaluated under semi-field conditions in New England and West Virginia. Abiotic conditions associated with soils in New England continue currently being tracked in six commercial orchards. Under Objective 5, we have constructed and continue to maintain a plum curculio web site that is designed to actively promote outreach and information exchange among interested stakeholders, crop consultants, state IPM research and extension programs, and federal researchers.


Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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