Oriental fruit moth is a common and potentially damaging pest in peach orchards. Monitoring for this insect on your farm is a critical component of your integrated pest management program and will also help ensure that your program meets regulatory criteria for export markets.
Suterra offers an OFM Biolure that can be used to effectively and reliably monitor OFM activity throughout the growing season. We suggest using these Biolures in combination with our Large Plastic Delta traps (LPD) which are sturdy, resilient, and easy to set up. Simply adhere the Biolure to the inner wall of the trap and remove the cellophane seal to activate the pheromone.
In general, you should hang traps in the orchard early in the season prior to peach bloom, no later than mid-February. Traps should be monitored frequently until you catch your first Oriental fruit moth, setting the first biofix. After the first flight, OFM trap catches may not exhibit distinct flight peaks like many other orchard pests do, because of overlap in flight timing. You can still glean important information about the moths by establishing a biofix and using the degree-day model to predict generation timing and help determine the best time to apply particular insecticides.
Suterra’s OFM Biolure works best in conventional orchards that are not using mating disruption. If you already are using mating disruptants or are thinking about making the switch, we are happy to work with you. Contact Suterra if you are interested in learning about bait buckets or other options that may be best suited to monitor OFM in your orchard.
While traps are an incredibly useful tool, they should not be your only method of monitoring OFM. Regularly conduct visual assessments of your crops to look out for signs of pest damage.
Throughout the season you should monitor for ‘shoot strikes’, shoot tips that have been killed by moth larvae burrowing into the plant. Begin shoot strike monitoring between 600 and 900 degree-days after each biofix. Thoroughly inspect at least five trees per 5 to 10 acres for damaged shoot tips and count each shoot strike you see. In addition, determine whether the damage was caused by OFM or peach twig borer (detailed below). If your shoot strike assessments yield an average of three or more shoot strikes per tree, consider implementing control strategies.
Visual fruit assessments are also an important component of monitoring to aid in detecting OFM infestations. Most growers already conduct some form of visual inspection of their fruit pre- and post-harvest, and adding OFM to the list of pests to look out for requires very little extra work. OFM larvae often bore into peaches at the stem or at points where two fruits are touching. Growers should keep in mind that the entry holes left by OFM can be very small and easily hidden by fruit rot, so extra attention to detail should be given when evaluating OFM damage.
The first step in determining an effective management approach is proper identification of the pest. The Oriental fruit moth infestation and damage may be confused with other pests.
Infestation and damage caused by OFM may be confused with peach twig borer. Both species will tunnel into the shoots of peach trees and feed on the fruits. OFM larvae generally tunnel deeper into the shoot and leave more frass behind than peach twig borer larvae. When larger larvae are present, visual distinction of OFM and peach twig borers is easy. Peach twig borer larvae appear “striped” while OFM larvae are a more uniform pink or cream colored. When multiple larvae are present, the most definitive way to confirm OFM is by examining the larvae using a hand lens. OFM have an anal comb on their last abdominal segment which peach twig borers, codling moths, and larvae you may encounter don’t have.
You will also want to confirm the identification of any adult moths captured in your pheromone traps. The Oriental fruit moth is a small (~0.5mm) greyish moth with an indistinct salt-and-pepper pattern on its wings. Oriental fruit moths are sometimes mistaken for codling moths, which are somewhat similar in appearance, but codling moths are larger than OFM. Codling moths also have a coppery reflective band near the base of their forewings which Oriental fruit moths lack (pictured below).
If Oriental fruit moth is causing damage in your peach orchard, consider which management techniques may work best for you and your operation. The University of California notes that the use of mating disruption is the preferred management strategy for OFM. Suterra’s OFM mating disruptants impact the male moth’s ability to find potential mates, greatly reducing pest population size and crop damage. Suterra has a variety of OFM mating disruption products, including Dispensers, Puffers, and Flowables. There are also combination products that address both OFM and peach twig borer in stone fruit crops. Growers can select the product that best fits their farm’s unique situation.
If you have questions about monitoring or management for Oriental fruit moth, Suterra is happy to help. Contact your local representative or fill out this form to get in touch.