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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

apple brown tortrix (Pandemis heparana)

Host plants / species affected
Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn)
Malus domestica (apple)
Prunus (stone fruit)
Pyrus communis (European pear)
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  external feeding
Fruit  -  lesions: scab or pitting
Fruit  -  malformed skin
Fruit  -  webbing
Inflorescence  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  frass visible
Leaves  -  leaves rolled or folded
Leaves  -  webbing
The young larvae of P. heparana, as well as the symptoms they produce, cannot be distinguished from those of some other leafrollers (Tortricinae) in orchards; they are green in general appearance, live inside a webbing, wriggle frantically upon disturbance and, if possible, lower themselves on a thread.

The earliest indications of attack can be found after flowering of the apple trees, when the mainly second-instar larvae have left their overwintering sites to make a tiny webbing inside leaf- or flower-clusters. Older larvae stay in rolled leaves, often on shoots. Becoming more voracious as the grow, the larvae reach out of their webbing and feed on nearby leaves and fruitlets. On the younger fruitlets such blemishes usually heal, leaving a superficial more or less russetted mark.

Following the adult flight, some young larvae make a webbing between a fruit and adjacent leaves, and feed on both. Such blemishes do not heal and remain visible as dry abrasions until harvest (Alford, 1984; van Frankenhuyzen, 1992; Rein, 1996).
Prevention and control

Biological Control

Preparations of Bacillus thuringiensis are not sufficiently effective against P. heparana (Bassino et al., 1979; de Reede et al., 1985; Ioriatti et al., 1995).

A nuclear polyhedrosis virus of P. heparana has been found (Amargier et al., 1981), but has not been commercialized so far.

Research on deploying Trichogramma spp. in mass releases against orchard leafrollers is underway in Germany (Hassan, 1997).

Chemical Control

Chemical control of P. heparana as an isolated pest has not received much attention (Bassino et al., 1979; de Reede, 1985; de Reede and de Wilde, 1986; de Reede et al., 1984, 1985a, 1985b; Fougeroux, 1987). P. heparana must have been susceptible to the great many broad-spectrum compounds used against orchard caterpillars from the 1940s onwards. Currently, organophoshates such as chlorpyrifos or synthetic pyrethroids are recommended for conventional control of leafrollers in general. These are best applied in early spring (Bassino et al., 1979), i.e. as soon as the small larvae have left their hibernation sites. Repeated applications of compounds, against first-generation larvae of both summer fruit tortrix (Adoxophyes orana) and codling moth (Cydia pomonella), have a long tradition in many regions. As they largely coincide with the appearance of hatchling larvae of P. heparana, it must have been mainly these treatments which caused the almost complete absence of P. heparana in many orchards before the advent of insect growth regulators (IGRs).

The use of more selective IGRs or pheromone-based mating disruption is preferred in the context of ecologically based crop protection (Gruys, 1982; Blommers, 1994). Although older acylureas such as diflubenzuron are not sufficiently effective against P. heparana, other IGRs are effective, for example, fenoxycarb, tebufenozide, lufenuron (Ioriatti et al., 1991, 1993; Charmillot, 1991, 1998; Charmillot et al., 1994, Charmillot and Pasquier, 1995).

Pheromonal Control

The sex pheromone of P. heparana has been identified (Frérot et al., 1979, 1982) and dispensers containing a mixture of the three major components (Arn et al., 1992) are being sold to monitor the flight and to estimate the risk of damage (Anonymous, 1988).

Mating disruption of orchard leafrollers, using one or two of the major components, which P. heparana shares with other major orchard pests - Adoxophyes orana, Archips podana, A. rosana, all belonging to the tortricid tribe Archipini - has been tried with success (Audemard et al., 1992; van Deventer and Blommers, 1992; van Deventer et al., 1992; Charmillot et al., 1993).

Although P. heparana occurs on both pome- and stone-fruits, it is mainly a pest of apple, for it has been rarely reported in conjunction with other fruit crops.

Without adequate control, leafroller damage may easily amount to 10% or more fruits at harvest. However, as several leafroller species, inflicting similar damage, are usually involved, the relative contributions of the separate species are difficult to assess. Although P. heparana is a more dominant species in southern Europe (Bassino et al., 1979; Audemard, 1986), it has been a rather obscure one in commercial orchards more to the north until fairly recently (Mani, 1968; Solomon, 1977; Jeanneret and Charmillot, 1997). The major reason was probably that pesticide applications against other, more abundant species, such as the codling moth Cydia pomonella, kept its population down. As P. heparana is a rather common species in untreated orchards, the progressive implementation of more selective pest control methods in Integrated Fruit Production tends to promote its relative abundance (Blommers et al., 1987; Oku, 1993).
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