Evaluating an attract and kill strategy to manage Tortricid moth pests using plant volatile-based lures and the biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis va

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2021: $13,411.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: University of Massachusetts
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Jaime Pinero
University of Massachusetts


  • Fruits: apples


  • Education and Training: extension
  • Pest Management: biological control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, traps

    Proposal abstract:

    Tortricid moths (Order: Lepidoptera) are economically damaging pest of apple trees. The main damage is caused by caterpillars, which bore into the fruit rendering the fruit unmarketable. Once the caterpillars are inside the fruit, they cannot be controlled. Most apple growers in New England use synthetic insecticides to control caterpillars but this approach is not suitable for small scale and for organic growers. One eco-friendly alternative is mating disruption, a technique that employs high numbers of sex pheromone dispensers. However, the minimum area needed for mating disruption to be effective is 5-6 acres and growers find it too expensive to implement it. Thus, there is a need for a management system that is eco-friendly as well as inexpensive. In this study, my goal is to evaluate a novel environment friendly attract and kill system against codling moth, oriental fruit moth, and obliquebanded leafrollers. I hypothesize that by strategically installing female lures within the orchard the pest will aggregate in specific areas, giving us a chance to implement control measures on those areas, leaving other parts of orchard comparatively pest and chemical free. Lures containing plant odor will be used, and the information collected will help to setup a biofix (period of high pest activity) for targeted application of the biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t. = Dipel). A complementary laboratory study will assess the residual efficacy of B.t. against all three moth species. This research may provide an effective pest management options against tortricid moths to small scale growers in New England.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1 (field research): To evaluate the efficacy of an attract-and-kill strategy involving plant volatile-based lures and biopesticides to control major tortricid moths (codling moth, oriental fruit moth and obliquebanded leafroller) under field conditions.

    Hypothesis: I hypothesize that by installing lures around the perimeter of the orchard will concentrate pest population within that area, so the rest of the orchard will have low pest pressure.

    Objective 2 (laboratory research): To quantify the residual effect of commercially available B.t. product Dipel against the larval stage of three tortricid moths (codling moth, oriental fruit moth, and obliquebanded leafroller).

    Hypothesis: I hypothesize that commercially available B.t. product will be effective in killing different instar larvae of three species of tortricid.

    Objective 3 (Extension/outreach): To disseminate the findings of my research among commercial apple growers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.