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Lepidoptera (moth pests)

Caterpillars are major pests in forests, stored grains, and fibre and food crops. Pest resistance to insecticide is an increasing problem and moths are among the most feared invasive species.

The SIT is increasingly being developed as a component of AW-IPM programmes for a number of moth pests. It is being applied to control the codling moth (Cydia pomonella) in apples and pears in Canada and the false codling moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta) in citrus in South Africa, the pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella) in cotton in California, and more recently to eradicate this pest from the south-western USA and north-western Mexico, and to eradicate the invasive Australian painted apple moth (Teia anartoides) in New Zealand.

It is also being developed to control the invasive cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorun) in Alabama, USA and Yucatan, Mexico, the carob moth (Ectomyelois caratonia) in dates in North Africa, and the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) in crucifer vegetables. For moth pests there is considerable potential for expanded implementation of inherited sterility, involving the release of substerilized moths, which has shown a significant synergistic interaction with biological control.

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