Brazil nears eradication of major fruit pest

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Brazil nears eradication of major fruit pest

Brazil is close to eradicating the country's most damaging apple and pear pest, the Cydia pomonella or codling moth.

According to the website Embrapa Uva e Vinho, in the 2012-13, no codling moths were detected. In 2010-11, seven moths had beenapples and pears ffp found and only one in 2011-12.

These numbers contrast strongly with the situation over a decade ago. In the 1997-98 season, around 22,500 insects were captured.

Director of the national eradication program, Adalécio Kovaleski, explained the requirements to officially claim total eradication.

"Two years are needed with zero record for the pest to be declared effectively as eradicated, but the production chain certainly has something to celebrate," Kovaleski said in the Brazilian publication.

Work to rid Brazil of the moth began in the 1990s. According to Embrapa Uva e Vinho, the pest was first detected in 1991 in one of the country's main apple production zones. The insect had been brought in with imported fruit.

Surveillance and exploration efforts began in Brazil's southern states, led by Kovaleski. Up until 1997-98, insect samples were found in urban areas of four regions.

With information from the monitoring program, an "attract and kill" program began that used traps with a mix of pheromones and insecticide, a strategy that had to be changed due to cost and import difficulties.

Later, efforts begun in the four cities where Cydia pomonella had been detected, with work focused on removing and replacing host plants such as apples, pears, quince, nectarines and plums. Owners of the plants received replacement plants that did not host the pest, including citrus, kiwifruit, native fruits and grapes.

According to the report, more than 100,000 plants were replaced in the urban area of the four cities.

The researcher highlighted the efforts of various organizations and workers that made this year's achievement possible.

"With eradication of Cydia pomonella, Brazil shows technical and scientific competence," he said.

The new challenge for researchers will now be facing the fruit fly, Anastrepha fraterculus.

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