The navel orangeworm, Amyelois transitella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is a key pest of almond, pistachio, and walnut tree crops in California. Understanding dispersal of adults between orchards is important to improving management options. Laboratory flight behavior of unmated navel orangeworm of ages 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 d posteclosion was examined using flight mills. As a group, females flew farther and longer than males, but the differences were not statistically significant. Flight speed did not differ between sexes. Flight duration and distance did not differ with age, except that 7-d-old adults performed worse for these parameters than did 1- and 2-d-old adults. Females began their flights ≈1.5 h after the onset of dusk, and ≈1.5 h earlier in the night than males. Flight capacity and propensity were substantial for both sexes and all age classes tested. At least 20% of adults (except 7-d-old males) made a continuous flight ≥5.5 h, and median total distances flown during the 10.5-h night ranged from 7 to 15 km depending on age class. Thus navel orangeworm flight mill performance was greater than that of most pests tested from the families Pyralidae and Tortricidae. Surface area and length of forewings and hindwings were greater in females than males, but had little effect on flight performance. The results are generally consistent with field observations of navel orangeworm dispersal, but it will be important to characterize the effects of mating on flight, and flight on fecundity.
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Vol. 43 • No. 3