Researchers seek biological control for pistachio pest

01/17/2013 04:54:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

obliquebanded leafrollerCourtesy Washington State UniversityResearchers at California State University, Fresno, are working with University of California counterparts to learn more about a minute parasite that may hold promise as biological control of a pistachio pest.

Larvae of the obliquebanded leafroller feed on a variety of nuts, fruits and ornamental plants, including pistachios, almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries, peaches, pears and raspberries, according to a news release.

At one time it was considered a secondary pest.

But more recently, OBLR has become a primary concern and has caused crop damage in some situations.

Andrew Lawson, a CSUF plant science professor, led a series of laboratory tests looking at the life cycle of Bracon cushmani, a parasitoid that feeds on OBLR larvae.

They also relesed the parasitoid in pistachio orchards. Although results are inconclusive, the work shows promise for the use of B. cushmani as an augmentative biological control agent.

The group also is studying how to mass rear the parasitoid in the laboratory.

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