Mating Disruption as a Suppression Tactic in Programs Targeting Regulated Lepidopteran Pests in US
In response to the confirmed detection of the light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana, in California, approximately 53,000 pheromone-baited Jackson traps were deployed and more than 246,000 males were caught (February 2007–February 2010). Approximately 46,000 manually entered catch records were corrected for errors and converted into catch per trap per day. As empty trap data (zeros) were not recorded, we added zeros between first and last catch for each trap based on the stated servicing period (~30,000), before analyzing for trends. Residual data error rate was estimated as 1.5 %. San Francisco and Santa Cruz counties had relatively high trap catches immediately upon trap set, and remained the leading population centers, while most other counties showed a more general trend of a slow build-up in catch over time (12 counties). An exponential increase in trap catch was observed in four counties with sufficient data. The pattern of spread indicated natural, as well as anthropogenic-assisted spread rates, with populations appearing well ahead of the invasion front. This jump dispersal is probably due to movement of host plants, unsurprising since eggs of this polyphagous moth are readily laid on foliage. There was evidence of seasonality in spread, probably linked to the phenology of the insect. There was a positive relationship between catch and known host tree preference, suggesting that trap placement in preferred hosts could add sensitivity to future surveys. Recommendations include the improved provision of data acquisition by telecommunications, standardization of data input, more archiving, and frequent analysis of trap catches. The rapid rate of population growth demonstrated in two counties and spread across many others supports the hypothesis of the recent arrival of E. postvittana in California.