The use of pheromone traps to monitoring the vine mealybug, Planococcus ficus, and its main parasitoid, Anagyrus sp. nr. pseudococci in Douro Wine Region


Abstract: The vine mealybug, Planococcus ficus (Signoret) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) has been increasing its importance as a pest in some vineyards of Douro Wine Region (Portugal). Under high pest pressure and repeated annual infestations, this insect can cause vine decay, not only due to its feeding activity, but also as a result of honeydew contamination of leaves and grape clusters and consequent development of sooty mold. Furthermore, P. ficus is known as a vector of Grapevine Leafroll Viruses. In order to better understand the population dynamics of this insect pest, as well as to improve pest control strategies, a study has been carried out in two wine farms from Douro Wine Region. During 2013, the flight curve of P. ficus males was monitored using pheromone traps baited with the synthetic female sex pheromone, (S)-lavandulyl senecioate. Moreover, the kairomonal attraction of the females of its main parasitoid, Anagyrus sp. nr. pseudococci (Girault) (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) was explored for also monitoring the activity of this wasp using the same pheromone traps. The first captures of P. ficus males occurred in mid-May. However, the increase of captures was observed only by the end of July, with a peak in mid-August. The first captures of A. sp. nr. pseudococci females in the pheromone traps occurred in mid-April. The trend of the wasp captures followed a similar pattern that was observed for P. ficus males since the end of July onwards.

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