Laboratory observations revealed that late-instar larvae of the eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens)) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) spend most of their time spinning, wandering, and resting; less than 10% is spent feeding. Larvae feed in a discontinuous pattern of short feeding bouts separated by much longer intervals of nonfeeding activity. Over a 2 h observation period, feeding bouts averaged 2.2 min and were separated by 17.4 min intervals for 4th-instar larvae as compared to 3.3 min bouts separated by 33.4 min intervals for 5th-instar larvae. The duration of a feeding bout was positively correlated with the duration of the subsequent interval, not with the duration of preceding intervals, suggesting that feeding-bout frequency is governed primarily by post-ingestion processes. It is postulated that short feeding bouts followed by long intervals limit the window for ingesting an efficacious dose of aerially applied insecticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis.
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