There are sex pheromone traps for Diamondback moth set up across the Salinas Valley. This pheromone only attracts males of this pest. These traps were first put out on February 20th, 2019. Traps are located in Castroville, Marina, Buena Vista, Chualar, Gonzales, by the Prison (near Soledad), and Soledad. Thanks to the PCAs who are helping me with this project.
Basically, numbers of moths per day per trap have been zeros, with the exception of the trap located in Castroville. Interestingly, moths were captured in all traps last week. The actual values of those captures are presented in the below figure as yellow dots. The bigger the dot represents a larger moth capture.
It seems like a new flight for the diamondback moth is about to begin across the Salinas Valley. Additionally, there has not been a break on the life cycle of this pest in the Castroville area. Population of this moth are persistent throughout the year in that area. The trap in Castroville has always captured moths since it was set up. Populations of this moth are residents of brassica weeds, as noted in previous scouting trips.
But, what does it mean to have less than one moth per trap per day, compared to 5 moths per trap per day? Is 5 moths a high value? How is that translated to caterpillars in the field? The next step will be to pair moth trap captures with actual scout data for caterpillars found in the surrounding areas of the traps. In the meantime, the information from these traps could help us to potentially predict when caterpillars might be present in the system in larger numbers. It is more likely that we will be able to see an increase of diamondback moth caterpillars in the next two weeks. It may be good to pay attention to cole crop fields, with the goal to early detect potential damaging populations of this pest in scouted fields.
I will be updating this map with moth captures at least every other week. Stay tune!
If you would like to learn more about this project, do not hesitate in contacting Alejandro Del-Pozo at email@example.com or 831-759-7359.
It has been a couple of “rough” weeks managing the diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), in the Central Coast. Based on my conversations with some PCAs, we are managing large populations of this moth, resulting in high infestations in cole crops like broccoli and Brussel sprouts. Larvae of this insect will typically feed on the underside of the leaves, rasping the epidermis and generating this characteristic “window panning” that results on perforations later on (Fig. 1). Diamondback larvae will also feed on the plant's growing points, floral stalks, and even on flower buds.
It seems like populations have been building up during early summer in our area, resulting in enough individuals, at this point, generating significant injury in cole crops. PCAs have been recommending spraying several different insecticides to reduce the infesting populations in affected fields, since damage has been beyond tolerable. For instance, after one of my field visits, I was able to spot affected larvae in treated fields (Fig. 2). Treatments are working, I believe we need to continue being ahead of future DMB infestations.
Some information to consider:
- Scout early. If you have transplants or direct seeded seedlings, pay a visit more often. We are dealing with a large DBM population right now. There will be a high chance that those fields may ended having DMB earlier than expected during this time of the year.
- Use of adjuvants. The waxy nature of cole crop leaves represents a challenge for insecticide deposition in the canopy. Make sure that you are using a spreader/sticker adjuvant to potentially reduce any pesticide “sliding off” from the waxy leaves.
- Rotate pesticides. Consider using different classes of insecticides, before using different active ingredients within the same class. For instance, using an avermectin and then a diamide, instead of using chlorantraniliprole and cyantraniliprole (two different active ingredients within the diamide class) back to back. Using different modes of actions will help to delay potential issues of developing insecticide resistance in our DBM populations.
We have been scouting for Bagrada bug on wild host plants at two sites in the San Ardo area since middle of May. We selected San Ardo as our most southern scouting point for the Salinas Valley. Every other week, we have performed plant visual counts and collected yellow sticky cards to document the presence of these bugs. So far, we have not found any Bagrada bug in the San Ardo area.
Four additional sites, along Highway 101, were added today to the Bagrada bug scouting route. These sites, from south to north, are located: 1) near King City, 2) south of Greenfield, 3) south of Soledad, and 4) north of Soledad. Today, we were able to document the presence of Bagrada bug adults (Fig. 1), on shortpod mustard (Fig. 2), in two of the four additional scouting sites. Bagrada bug adults are currently located north of Soledad and near King City. From our observations, there are no nymphs nor eggs on the shortpod mustard. Adults were observed mostly mating. Early instar nymphs will be expected in the next couple of weeks.
We will be increasing the frequency of the scouting for this bug to weekly visits, and we will be adding two additional sites near Gonzales, one in Chualar, and another one south of Salinas. Adding more sites will help to document if Bagrada bugs are present in other places besides Soledad and King City. Are these bugs isolated and resident Bagrada populations? We plan to answer this question setting up more scouting sites across the Salinas Valley.
Today, we also noticed that the most of the shortpod mustard plants are senescing. It would be expected that Bagrada bug females might disperse from unsuitable wild host plants to recently planted cole crops in the surrounding areas. Dispersing and mated females may lay their eggs on these crops. I would suggest to PCAs to check recently planted or young cole crops in the surrounding areas of Soledad and King City during this week. Early detection of potentially migrating females will help everybody to successfully manage this pest.
We will continue to visit our scouting sites for Bagrada bug in the Salinas Valley. If you have any further question about the situation of this pest in your area, please call or email Alejandro Del-Pozo at 831-759-7359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.