The plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), one of the most important pests of apple (Malus spp.) in eastern and central North America, historically has been managed in New England apple orchards by three full block insecticide applications. Efforts to reduce insecticide inputs against plum curculio include perimeter row sprays, particularly after petal fall, to control immigrating adults. The odor-baited trap tree approach represents a new reduced input strategy for managing plum curculio based on the application of insecticides to a few perimeter-row trap trees rather than the entire perimeter row or full orchard block. Here, we compared the efficacy of a trap tree approach with perimeter row treatments to manage populations after petal fall in commercial apple orchards in 2005 and 2006. Injury was significantly greater in trap trees compared with unbaited perimeter row treated trees in both years of the study. In 2005, heavy rains prevented growers from applying insecticide applications at regular intervals resulting in high injury in nearly all blocks regardless of type of management strategy. In 2006, both the trap-tree and perimeter-row treatments prevented penetration by immigrating populations and resulted in economically acceptable levels of injury. The trap tree management strategy resulted in a reduction of ≈70% total trees being treated with insecticide compared with perimeter row sprays and 93% compared with standard full block sprays.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4