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Pheromone-based pest control in Scandinavian strawberry production

Strawberry is the most important edible horticultural crop in Sweden when considered the area of cultivation (currently about 2,400 ha). The annual yield has during the last years been ≈15,000 tons and the value of the production ≈500 MSEK. Strawberries are considered a high value crop, and farmers and consumers frequently reject small and deformed fruits. Such fruits can result from damage caused by insects.

Acleris comariana, the strawberry tortrix (in Swedish: jordgubbsvecklare) is a severe pest in strawberry production in southern Sweden and Denmark, and its impact is expected to increase in the future due to climate change and restrictions on pesticide use. Female moths oviposit underneath the leaves of strawberry plants. Larvae of the first generation often hatch at the time of flower petiole development, and feeding on flowers results in aborted fruits or small and malformed fruits. In a recent survey in Danish strawberry fields about 95% of the collected tortricid larvae were identified as A. comariana, and the species is the most common species also in strawberry fields in southern Sweden.

Deformed strawberries caused by Acleris comariana infestation. Photo: Victoria Tönnberg.
Deformed strawberries caused by Acleris comariana infestation. Photo: Victoria Tönnberg.

As the number of insecticides available for horticultural production in Europe is rapidly decreasing, pheromones have a great potential to replace traditional insecticides for pest control. Similar to most moths, A. comariana relies on a female-produced sex pheromone for long-range mate attraction. This project will explore the potential to implement pheromone-based monitoring and control of this pest in Scandinavian strawberry production.

  • The pheromone will be identified and a trapping system developed to monitor the flight phenology and abundance of A. comariana in strawberry fields in Skåne and Denmark.
  • Data on larval densities in individual fields will be correlated with trap catches to check how well these data can predict future infestation levels.
  • Finally, pheromone-based mating disruption of the pest will be evaluated using different dispensing systems.
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A strawberry tortrix on a strawberry leaf
Acleris comariana, the Strawberry Tortrix (jordgubbsvecklare). Photo: Glenn Svensson.

People involved

Glenn Svensson

Collaborators

Funding