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New Zealand Plant Protection 68 (2015): 299-305

Vulnerability of pest management in New Zealand apples: pesticide toxicity to Aphelinus mali (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae)

D.J. Rogers, P.L. Lo and J.T.S. Walker


New pest management practices in New Zealand's apple sector have provided ecological and economic outcomes that are recognised by growers and exporters. Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) pest control systems that combine biological control, selective insecticides and mating disruption have been developed to achieve these outcomes. Although pest management in apple orchards is now more sustainable, it is also highly vulnerable to pesticide-induced disruption. The toxicity of four pesticides (spinetoram, thiacloprid, spinosad and spirotetramat) on the natural enemy of woolly apple aphid, Aphelinus mali, was examined. While applications of spinetoram were the primary cause of aphid outbreaks in 2007-08, other insecticides can contribute to the instability of this biocontrol system. The consequences of applying these disruptive pesticides to aphid control are discussed, together with strategies to mitigate the vulnerability of the IFP programme to pest outbreaks.

Keywords: woolly apple aphid, Aphelinus mali, "off-target" toxicity, Integrated Fruit Production, insecticides.

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