The application of a microencapsulated (MEC) sex pheromone formulation (Checkmate CM-F) for codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.), in low volume, concentrated sprays was evaluated in a series of small plot and grower trials in apple, Malus domestica Borkhausen, and pear, Pyrus communis L. Preliminary tests found that MEC sprays applied at 172–207 kilopascals in 12–23 liters/ha deposited the highest density of microcapsules per leaf. The addition of a latex sicker did not increase the deposition of microcapsules. Small plot tests in 2004 compared the effectiveness of two low-volume sprayers against a standard high-volume spray (926 liters/ha) applied at 1,379 kilopascals. Moth catches and fruit injury were significantly lower in plots treated with the low-volume sprays compared with plots treated with the standard sprayer. These results suggest that concentrating the MEC formulation increases the deposition of microcapsules and improves its effectiveness. Larger trials were conducted with a low-volume sprayer in 4-ha plots within commercial apple (2005–2006) and pear orchards (2005) paired with similar plots treated with hand-applied pheromone dispensers. Levels of fruit injury were not significantly different between pheromone treatments in any of the three tests. Moth catches, however, were significantly higher in the MEC- versus the dispenser-treated apple plots in 2005. No difference was found in the fruit injury levels in MEC-treated apple orchards in 2005 caused by irrigation method, but moth catches were significantly higher in overhead versus undertree orchards. The advantages and current limitations of using MEC sex pheromone sprays to supplement current grower’s management strategies for codling moth is discussed.
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