By CONSOLATA MUTUA
October 21, 2016, Nairobi. 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 required a scout to just fill in ‘caterpillar’ but now due to different moth 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 front line in developing and availing attractants/pheromone traps in order to help the growers meet this need.
We have been therefore closely working with growers to find out what are the new moth problems in roses. Duponchelia 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 the 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 a shipment will lead to interception hence leading to greater losses.
Demand by the market to reduce pesticide use on flowers leaves growers with limited options for moth control too. For effective control of these pests one needs to understand their Identification and behaviour.
False codling Moth
When chilli growers were battling with the pest which was noted in 2014, little did anyone know it was going to visit the Rose crop. FCM has also been a pest of the Macadamia, Avocado as well as Citrus fruits. It is listed as a notifiable pest.
First when 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 misleading the observer to call it ‘’STALK BORER”. On the cut points it is noted to enter and burrow inside leaving tiny particles of the stem content pilling on top of the cut point, as such 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 pest pressure does not look high on visual observations 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 that quick action is vital. Monitoring with CRYTRACK from Kenya Biologics is the first step to the effective management of False codling moth.
You can manage your caterpillar if you know it, Management of False Codling Moth
Due to the fact that the eggs are very small and difficulty to detect by visual inspection of crop, use of monitoring tools is key to early detection of the pest. Moths also are difficulty to be noted by scouts as they are nocturnal.
Use of CRYTRACK from Kenya Biologics has been helping Chilli growers and fruit growers to make out early detection of FCM as well as use of the tool for Mass trapping of male FCM a strategy that enables growers determine FCM presence and also help manage the pest population by holding captive male FCM through continued mass trapping.
Kenya Biologics CRYTRACK for FCM management in chillies has been noted to reduce the pest by over 70%. Therefore, it is important to note that the key to IPM of the pest is firstly monitoring with CRYTRACK for early detection then Mass trapping of the male FCM. Foliar applications of insecticides could be done but control may be difficult as it is not easy to kill the larvae once inside the bud or stem.
Let’s know & recognize the enemy (FCM)
This is also another moth whose larvae cause economic damage to the leaves and flowers of ornamental plants, thereby reducing their quality and cosmetic value.
The wing markings (yellowishwhite transverse lines and pronounced “finger” that points towards the back edge of the wing and the position adopted by adults at rest (males curve their abdomen upwards) is quite distinctive of this species.
It is important to note that for effective control of these moth pests, early detection is very important. This is so because; it is very difficult to manage moths especially if the population has been allowed to build up over seasons. It is much easier then to ensure you keep moth numbers low from the start than to control a well established population.
Kenya Biologics has been in the fore front in providing the growers with necessary tools to be able to manage moth populations. With our extensive range of monitoring tools, growers are able to detect different moth species early and hence take corrective actions before pest build up.
Due to the increased number of moth species in roses, Kenya Biologics has provided the growers with FEMTRACK which targets more than one moth species.
What is FEMTRACK?
FEMTRACK is a complete system for trapping female and male moths. The system consists of the FEMTRACK lure, a delta trap and sticky paper. FEMTRACK will attract different species of moths; Helicoverpa, Spodoptera, Duponchelia and other moths.
It is effective and catches moths in the ratio of 70% females and 30% males. This means you catch female you stop egg laying instantly. This reduces caterpillar larvae hence damage on crops significantly.
Holistic Approach to Helicoverpa armigera Management
Kenya Biologics combination of FEMTRACK and HELITEC is now providing the growers with a holistic approach to the management of Helicoverpa armigera.
Once you detect Helicoverpa in your trap, start using HELITEC as a Prophylactic Preventative spray. Usually caterpillars hatch out of the eggs by first chewing the shell of the egg to make an opening to the outside. If a caterpillar chews an egg shell sprayed with HELITEC, it gets infected with the Helicoverpa armigera neucleopolyhedrovirus (HearNPV) hence it dies out of infection before it feeds on the crop. HELITEC and FEMTRACK provides efficient and cost effective control of pest, compatible with other IPM programmes, leaves no MRL and does not build resistance to the pest thus user friendly.
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