Flight Phenology of Male Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) at Different Latitudes in the Southeastern United States

Stephen D. Hight, James E. Carpenter

Abstract


Long term trapping studies of the invasive moth Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg) were conducted at various latitudes from Puerto Rico to South Carolina. Three flight periods per year were identified at the 5 temperate sites studied, which covered the majority of the infested range on mainland United States. In general, the 3 flight periods across a latitudinal gradient from south Florida to central, coastal South Carolina were a spring flight during Feb–-May, a summer flight during Jun–Aug, and a fall flight during Sep–Nov. At any 1 site, each flight period lasted about 2 months. In the tropical areas of the Florida Keys and a Caribbean Island, the insect exhibited overlapping generations. Previous studies of this insect (as a biological control agent) report 2 flight periods per year in its native range of Argentina and its introduced range of Australia and South Africa. A synthetic pheromone-baited trap was a good indicator of generational time, and we suggest that trapping assays in these areas will likely identify 3 generations rather than 2. Initiation and timing of the 3 generational flights has importance in the current United States and Mexico monitoring program for presence and expansion of this invasive pest, development of mapping programs to identify monitoring windows and management efforts with the Sterile Insect Technique.

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