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Movement of adult pecan weevils Curculio caryae within pecan orchards

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1 The pecan weevil Curculio caryae (Horn) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is an indigenous pest of pecan Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch, in North America. Understanding the movement of this pest from the orchard floor to host trees could lead to pest management practices that exploit weevil behaviour and thus reduce insecticide application to the entire orchard canopy. Furthermore, no information exists on diel periodicity of pecan weevil movement.

2 Movement of adult pecan weevils crawling and flying to the host trunk, flying to the host canopy, crawling within the host canopy and flying between host trees was studied using four types of passive traps over four seasons. Each type of trap was used to capture weevils at different locations on or near the tree and to discriminate flying versus crawling behaviour.

3 More pecan weevils crawl to the trunk than fly and a proportion of the population flies directly from the orchard floor into the pecan canopy. The majority of this movement occurs at dusk.

4 The vertical distribution of weevils was generally uniform throughout the canopy but more weevils were captured in suspended traps nearest tree tops, rather than traps near the ground, when flying between trees and this was significantly so for two of 4 years.

5 The results of the present study are contrary to previous reports suggesting that most adult pecan weevils fly to the pecan trunk after emergence from the soil; however, our results did indicate that a proportion of the population flies directly from the orchard floor into the pecan canopy and thus would circumvent strategies that attempt to control weevils moving up the trunk.
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Keywords: Behaviour; Coleoptera; Curculio caryae; Curculionidae; diel periodicity; movement; orchard; pecan; trap

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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