Battling Tropinota Hirta in Apple Orchards

Author: Dr. Miloš Petrović, Assistant Professor at Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad

Apples, both in apple growing regions, and as a semi-individual tree are in constant threat by being infected both by fungi or bacteria or attacked by many of the pests.

The list of insect pests which can harm apples is so high, that you can make a big catalogue.

Unveiling the Thorny Challenge of Tropinota Beetle Infestation

 

One species from order Coleoptera, family Scarabaeidae, is hard to handle. Tropinota hirta often called just “Tropinota” is the species ever and wide present during the early and mid-spring. This Scarab belongs to the group of insects often called polyphagous, which means it can feed on the number of plants belonging to the various botanical families. In Western Balkans and Central Europe is is considered to be a serious pest of oil rape, barley, wheat, apples, pears, plums, cherries (both sweet and sour) etc.

Why is one species, which occurs only once a year, so dangerous and hard to control? The reason for that lies in the fact that it appears during the beginning of flowering and full bloom!

When you think about that almost romantic part of the year, you always imagine yourself visiting your farmer friend, going to his orchard to spend some good quality time, take some nice pictures, but in the case of Tropinota attack that would not be a situation.

Adults feed on flower buds and flowers and they are thriving for a nutritious rich pollen which is their main food source. The problem is that the adults often damage ten buds just to eat a piece of pollen dust. You can almost describe it like a wolf hunting for sheeps, where it kills ten sheeps and eats only one.

The management of this species lays its foundations in knowing the biology of this species, and in many cases, it is enough to know that adults are attracted to white and blue color so you can make a water trap using basins (white and blue) and spread them around the orchard in order to attract and drown the insects.

Highly alternative management is must when it comes to controlling this species, because it often occurs during the high activity of honeybees which are the most important pollinators!

Newly formed orchards have a ace in the sleeve because fruit growers now construct anti hail nets to look like a “net cage” disabling the insect outside the orchard to enter and start feeding.

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