Sunday, December 10, 2006

Management of the lesser date moth, Batrachedra amydraula, in the United Arab Emirates date palm plantations

Walid Kaakeh,, United Arab Emirates University, Department of Arid Land Agriculture, College of Food and Agriculture, P. O. Box 17555, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates

The lesser date moth, Batrachedra amydraula (Meyrick), is one of the most important pests on date palm in the UAE that may cause more than 50% loss of the crop. Management programs for this pest on date palm have not been developed or implemented at the farm level. The study was conducted, from February 2004 to May 2005 in four date palm plantations in Abu-Dhabi Emirate, to determine the biology, population dynamics, economic impacts and the control components of this pest. The moth had three generations a year. The first larvae appeared in April to start the damage on the newly formed fruits on the bunch. Larvae had a period of dormancy from August till March of the next year between the bases of the terminal fronds. Pupation took place in March and adults of the new cycle emerged in April, giving more larvae in 3 overlapping generations to damage different growth stages of dates. Control of the moth was achieved by the removal and destruction of the dormant larvae in an operation of cleaning from the fibrous strands around the bases of the terminal fronds. Pheromone lures and insecticide sprays gave excellent control of this pest in the field experiments. The development of management strategies for the inclusion of these lures and/or insecticides in the date moth integrated management programs would be worth considering.

Species 1: Lepidoptera Cosmopterigidae Batrachedra amydraula (lesser date moth)