Nairobi,September 19,2017.It seems that we are not over with Caterpillar management in flowers. Initially we were to deal with one major moth of the Roses-the Helicoverpa armigera-but now, much more are evolving every other time! This makes it even harder to control as differentiation of the moth species is difficult to growers. It is no longer time scouting report requiring a scout to just fill in ‘caterpillar’ but now due to different species in our Greenhouses which need different methods of control, growers need to state the moth species at hand.
Kenya Biologics has been thus on the frontline in developing and availing attractants/pheromone traps in order to help the growers meet the need. We have been therefore closely working with growers to find out what are the new moth problems in roses.
Duplonchelia and False codling moth have now been confirmed to be pests of economic importance to rose growers.
These pests are not only a concern due to economic damage they cause but also giving growers sleepless nights due to the fact that they are of concern to phytosanitary bodies and that detection on shipment will lead to interception hence leading to greater losses. Demand by market to reduce pesticide use o flower leaves growers with limited options for moth control too.
For effective control of these pests, the grower needs to understand their identification and behavior. When it was first noted in roses, growers gave it different names as they were not sure of the Enemy. It is observed to cause damage on the flower bud where the larva enters into the bud leaving behind its frass covering the entry hole on the outside. It then burrows downwards feeding on the inside of the stem hence misleading the observer to call it “stalk borer”. On the cut point it is noted to enter and burrow inside leaving tiny particles of the stem content pilling on top of the cut point, as such the cut point dries up and no new shoots can be realized from such infested points-damaging!
Most challenging thing with FCM in roses is that the pressure does not look high on visual observation as it is not easy for growers to note and estimate the loss due to dead cut points as harvestable stems and new shoots still stand thus one may underestimate the economic loss. This is even worse if one does not know whether the pest is present in the Greenhouse.
However with a close look after one understands how the pest causes damage and behaves, then you will agree with me it is damaging and quick action is vital.
Due to the fact that the eggs are very small and difficult to detect by visual inspection of crop, use of monitoring tools is key to early detection of the pest. Noting that FCM has also been a problem in chili growers, macadamia, avocado and citrus; use of CRYTRACK from Kenya Biologics has been helping growers make out early detection of FCM.
This product whose strategy enables to determine the presence of FCM and also manage pest population by holding captive male FCM through continued mass trapping, has been noted to reduce the pest by over 70% in chilies.