Phycitine moths are an economic impediment to California date, Phoenix dactylifera L., production. Summer populations build to damaging levels on abscised dates that get trapped in fruit bunches. This study was conducted to determine the relationship between abscised fruit and moth infestation, and to evaluate changes in the spatial distribution of abscised fruit and moth-infested fruit after a bunch-sanitation treatment. Over the 9 wk of this study, there was a 69.9% reduction in the number of moth-infested fruit after a single sanitation treatment. Linear regression analysis showed a significant relationship between abscised fruit and phycitine moth-infested fruit; 42 and 76.6% of the variation in the number of infested fruit was explained by the number of abscised fruit in noncleaned and cleaned plots, respectively. The pattern of reinfestation by moths over the 9 wk posttreatment period was analyzed with spatial analysis with distance indices. Significant spatial associations were found between abscised fruit and moth-infested fruit, supporting the regression analysis. The sanitation treatments caused significant gaps in both abscised fruit and moth-infested fruit. Over time, gap sizes became smaller, indicating a nonrandom pattern of reinfestation that likely was caused by the movement of moths from nontreated areas into treated areas. This study, the first spatial analysis conducted in dates, suggests that in-season bunch sanitation could be effective at reducing summer moth densities if applied on a large regional scale.
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Vol. 100 • No. 6