The seasonal density fluctuations of the carob moth, Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Zeller) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), were determined in a commercial date, Phoenix dactylifera L. garden. Four fruit categories (axil, ground, abscised green, and abscised brown) were sampled, and two carob moth life stages, eggs and immatures (larvae and pupae combined), were evaluated on these fruits. Based on the relative consistency of these eight sampling units (four fruit categories and two carob moth stages), four were used for the development of a binomial sampling plan. The average number of carob moth eggs and immatures on ground and abscised brown fruit was estimated from the proportion of infested fruit, and these binomial models were evaluated for model fitness and precision. These analyses suggested that the best sampling plan should consist of abscised brown dates and carob moth immatures by using a sample size of 100 dates. The performance of this binomial plan was evaluated further using a resampling protocol with 25 independent data sets at action thresholds of 7, 10, and 15% to represent light, medium and severe infestations, respectively. Results from the resampling program suggested that increasing sample size from 100 to 150 dates improved the precision of the binomial sampling plan. Use of this sampling plan will be the cornerstone of an integrated pest management program for carob moth in dates.
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Vol. 103 • No. 4