Larry Gut

Michigan State University, East Lansing

"Totally effective mating disruption."

Gut and his colleagues have set a goal to develop a high-performance mating disruption system that would stop mating completely, even when pest pressure is high, and eliminate the need for supplementary sprays.

"We think mating disruption is a nice addition to pest management, but it generally only works when pest densities are low, and you generally combine it with companion insecticides, and you generally don’t get 100 percent disruption," he explained.

Gut is working on a different, more effective type of technology that probably will be patented.

"This is my career dream," he said. "If I could end my career with having actually disrupted codling moth at that level, I would be ecstatic."

Alan Knight

Agricultural Research Service, Yakima, Washington

"Get off the pesticide treadmill."

Many new pesticides are available, and growers are adopting them as fast as they can, Knight observed. This has resulted in more problems with secondary pests and more spraying. Natural enemies that had built up tolerance to organophosphates don’t have tolerance to some of the new products.

"I just look at ourselves right now, and we’re excited because we have all these new tools. We’re on a pesticide treadmill."

Knight would like to see growers adopt a nondisruptive codling moth program based on mating disruption using improved pheromone systems together with the granulosis virus. A combination of pheromones and the virus is used successfully in Switzerland by conventional and organic growers alike, he said. Knight thinks the barriers to adopting it in the United States are: a perception that it’s not very effective, a concern about having to apply multiple sprays, and unwillingness to accept a certain amount of fruit injury initially until the codling moth population declines.

Ideally, Knight would like to see an areawide codling moth suppression program, such as sterile-insect release, or a totally nondestructive technique, such as trees genetically modified to incorporate the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin, but he thinks it unlikely those would be implemented in the United States.

Rachel Elkins

University of California Extension, Lake County

"Cheaper, more effective mating disruption."

Elkins would like to see pheromone mating disruption become more efficient and capable of controlling more types of pests. "I think it would be nice to make it a more broad-spectrum strategy," she said. "Mating disruption is a great technique and it’s safe, and it’s not controversial, but it does have problems, the main one being you have multiple pests out there that you need to control at the same time, and you have secondary pests."

She’d like to see multiple pheromone products that could be combined in a dispenser to control various pests at the same time.

Dispensers combining mating disruption products for codling moth and leafrollers are under development, but the difficulty has been that the pests’ lifecycles are not synchronized, so they need to be controlled at different times.

Elkins said she wishes that the pheromone puffers, which have been used successfully in California orchards, were cheaper and would like to see technology used to make them more affordable.


Helmut Riedl

Oregon State University, Hood River

"Wider adoption of new tools."

It would be a significant breakthrough if growers were to take advantage of more of the newer developments in pest management, such as monitoring and decision tools, including thresholds, Riedl said. "I think growers could really benefit from adopting some of these tools more than they actually do."

He’d like to see university and U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologists provide information to growers via publications and the Internet to educate them about new pest tools, but said their programs have been facing financial constraints.

Extension cannot work with individual growers one on one, and there are too few private pest management consultants, he said. The chemical dealer field representatives who advise growers are focused on selling them products. He would like dealers to offer growers the option of paying for pest management services without necessarily buying products, too.

Vince Jones

Washington State University, Wenatchee

"Automatic traps."

Electronic traps that automatically count the number of insects that drop into them and relay the results to a computer would be a useful, labor-saving tool, said Jones. Such traps are under development but have been unreliable so far.

If the traps worked well and could be linked into a regional system, such as Washington’s AgWeather Net, growers could start looking at codling moth flight on a regional basis, rather than in just their own orchards, he said.

Such traps might be expensive, but they would reduce the labor needed for checking the traps. However, the lures would still need to be changed.


Art Agnello

Cornell University, NYSAES, New York

"More effective pheromone technology."

A more effective pheromone dispensing technology that can be sprayed on the trees to control Oriental fruit moth as well as codling moth and leafrollers would be a great boon to fruit growers, Agnello believes.

Although sprayable formulations are available and reduce labor needs compared with hand-applied dispensers, they have drawbacks. The microencapsulated spray is not long lasting, and it’s been difficult to get fibers and flakes to stick well on the trees. Many of them fall on the ground.

He’d like to see a pheromone product that sticks well on the tree, to avoid wastage and increase efficacy, and one that has a long residual life so that it only needs to be applied once per pest generation.


Jay Brunner

Washington State University, Wenatchee

"Built-in defense."

Ultimately, it might be possible to use genetic engineering to introduce a plant defense system into apple trees that reduces the ability of codling moth to reproduce so that it can be managed more easily with pheromones and biological control, Brunner imagines.

"There might be naturally occurring plant defenses that are already present in some apple species that could be incorporated into commercial cultivars," he said, noting, however, that society might not be ready yet for that kind of approach. "That’s out there a ways."