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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

jasmine moth (Palpita vitrealis)

Host plants / species affected
Arbutus unedo (arbutus)
Jasminum (jasmine)
Ligustrum (privet)
Olea europaea subsp. europaea (European olive)
Wrightia tinctoria (pala indigo)
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  external feeding
Fruit  -  frass visible
Growing point  -  external feeding
Growing point  -  frass visible
Inflorescence  -  external feeding
Inflorescence  -  frass visible
Inflorescence  -  webbing
Leaves  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  frass visible
Leaves  -  leaves rolled or folded
Leaves  -  webbing
Whole plant  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  frass visible
The larvae of P. vitrealis are external feeders, mainly on the leaves of the host plant. Newly hatched larvae usually feed on the lower surface of the leaves and, as a consequence, the upper epidermis dries up and turns brown. Feeding can also be observed on the apical buds. Older larvae cut the whole lamina, often connecting parts of the leaf or several leaves together with silk. Black frass particles and thin silk filaments are visible on damaged parts of the plant. On olive, damage also occurs on the fruits in the form of feeding holes or galleries. The final instar spins one or several leaves together, forming a silky cocoon before pupation.
Prevention and control
The removal of suckers in older olive orchards is a principal method of preventing the rapid build-up of jasmine moth populations (Triggiani, 1971). The treatment of trees should only be considered when more than 1% of the fruit is affected (Lopez-Villalta, 1999). Nurseries or young plantations should be treated when more than 5% of the trees are affected in the spring. Treatments can be replicated if necessary (Lopez-Villalta, 1999). Mazomenos et al. (1994, 2002) have suggested the use of pheromone traps for monitoring P. vitrealis.

According to Lopez-Villalta (1999), insecticides such as dimethoate, deltamethrin and cypermethrin can be used for chemical control of the jasmine moth in olive cultivation. Arambourg (1986) recommended the use of Bacillus thuringiensis. Trials to assess the use of mass-reared egg parasitoids for control of P. vitrealis are the subject of an international research project (Agamy et al., 2002; Herz and Hassan, 2002).
In olive, the larvae attack the leaves and fruits. Leaf loss in mature orchards does not usually result in economic damage. In nurseries or young orchards, the damage can reach up to 90% of the leaf area, seriously affecting the plant shoots. High infestations in late summer and autumn during fruit ripening may reduce yield by 30% (Lopez-Villalta, 1999). Damage caused by Palpita has been reported from Greece (Vassilaina-Alexopoulou and Santorini, 1973), Italy (Triggiani, 1971; Fodale and Mule, 1990), Israel (Avidov and Rosen, 1961) and Egypt (El-Kifl et al., 1974).

Ornamental plants suffer from larval attack of the leaves and flower buds (Pinto and Salerno, 1995). Gargani (1999) also cited a report of heavy infestation on a plantation of jasmine cultivated for the production of perfume.
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