Carpophilus Beetle - Another Insect Eating Your Profits?
don’t have C. davidsoni . Understanding the population dynamics in Australian almond orchards would go a long way towards understanding what’s driving their presence. Ben Brown - Industry Development Manager
The Australian almond industry increased significantly during the 2000s with most of this acreage now bearing and near maturity. Whilst we commonly discuss this feature in a positive light it appears the large footprint we now have isn’t without its challenges. For those who attended the Activated Almonds R&D Forum in June 2013 or downloaded the presentations from our website, would remember for probably the first time being alerted to a potential new pest of almonds - Carpophilus beetle (Figure 1). This pest was detected by David Madge and the DEPI Victoria research team while undertaking the industry’s carob moth (Figure 1) R&D project. This concern has grown through the 2013/14 season with the Almond Board of Australia (ABA) receiving contact from several concerned growers and processors that its presence and kernel damage has increased, to the extent it is sometimes more damaging than carob moth. What’s particularly worrying is the beetle doesn’t discriminate between almond varieties. For those who have been involved in horticulture for a while would have definitely heard about carpophilus beetle but only as a serious pest of stone fruit, where in Australia crop losses of up to 30% can occur. As an aside, carpophilus beetles are also a serious pest of stone fruit in New Zealand, Middle East and USA. Biology and Behaviour At least 12 species of carpophilus beetle occur in Australia with C. davidsoni (Figure 2), C. hemipterus (Figure 2), and C. mutilates (Figure 2) causing the greatest economic damage in ripening stone fruit. C. davidsoni is native to Australia whereas the other two species are cosmopolitan. It’s worth highlighting C. davidsoni is the common species caught in Australian stone fruit orchards and is often first on the scene preferring fruit that is in its early stages of ripening. C. hemipterus normally arrives on the scene once the fruit begins to rot and drops to the ground. This may explain why carpophilus beetle management is more of a concern in Australian stone fruit orchards compared to Californian orchards where they
Figure 1: Carpophilus beetle (Carpophilus davidsoni) (top) and carob moth (Ectomyelois ceratoniae) (bottom) causing almond damage (photos courtesy of David Madge, DEPI)
Figure 2: C. davidsoni (left), C. hemipterus (middle) and C. mutilates (right) Images courtesy: Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org