In commercial orchards in Massachusetts in 2003, we conducted experiments aimed at developing guidelines for use of perimeter-row trap trees baited with grandisoic acid plus benzaldehyde as sentinels in a practical approach to determining need and timing of insecticide applications against overwintered plum curculios, Conotrachelus nenuphar (Herbst). Evaluations were based on percentages of sampled fruit injured by plum curculio. Trap trees baited with grandisoic acid released at ≈1 mg/d plus benzaldehyde released at ≈40 mg/d performed as well as or better than trap trees baited with greater or lesser amounts of these attractants in combination. The distance over which a trap tree baited with such odor was effective in aggregating damage to fruit extended to at least 31–33 m (maximum evaluated) along a perimeter row. Trap trees at corners of orchard blocks were as effective as perimeter-row trap trees midway between corner trees. Within the canopy of a trap tree, damage did not tend significantly to be localized in the vicinity of the odor source but tended to be rather evenly distributed among various sectors of the canopy. Finally, among three candidate thresholds evaluated as a trigger for insecticide application, a threshold of one freshly injured fruit proved better than thresholds of two or four freshly injured fruit out of 50 fruit sampled on a trap tree in assuring that orchard-wide damage would remain below a preset economic injury level of 1%. Our findings lead us to suggest that after a whole-orchard application of insecticide to apple trees in Massachusetts orchards shortly after petal fall, subsequent applications of insecticide against plum curculio can be confined to peripheral-row trees and be driven by a provisional threshold of one freshly injured fruit out of 50 fruit sampled on a perimeter-row trap tree baited with the above-mentioned odor.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2