This research was undertaken to gather data in support of an assessment of the likelihood that Copitarsia decolora (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), a pest of asparagus, Asparagus officinalis L., and other crops, could escape from the pathway followed by asparagus from the field to the consumer. Asparagus that is destroyed by cooking and consumption, being run through a trash compactor or garbage disposal, or being buried in a landfill probably cannot support development of C. decolora larvae. Much asparagus is discarded in dumpsters, however, and the time between disposal and removal to the landfill provides an opportunity for C. decolora to escape into the environment. Results of this study indicate that C. decolora cannot survive to the pupal stage on rotten asparagus, and survival on dried asparagus is low. However, larvae can survive at least 1 wk on both types of deteriorating asparagus held at 23.5°C. In field trials, a small percentage of C. decolora larvae crawled out of a dumpster filled with asparagus after 1 wk.
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