Gay Codling moths to help growers protect British apple crop

A new pest control technique which turns moths gay is being used by Sainsbury's to protect Britain's valuable apple crop from its biggest predator.

It reduces the need for pesticides, and will stop millions of pounds worth of ruined apples going to waste, helping the industry beat off competitors, said Sainsbury's.

The move follows the supermarket's decision to stock only home grown apples on "key lines" throughout the year.

Theresa Huxley, Sainsbury's apple technologist said: "We want to do all that we can to ensure that British apples are the best value and tastiest apples available today."

Codling Moths which attack apples and ruin the fruit have the ability to devastate entire crops if left uncontrolled.

The new technique coats male moths in a chemical which imitates the strong scent given off by females to attract partners.

This means that males are attracted to males, disrupting the breeding cycle and reducing dramatically the number of eggs able to produce baby moths.

The female moth scent, called a pheromone is a natural substance, and unlike other chemicals is completely safe to use on both conventional and organic crops.

The new pest control method is the latest in a long line of Sainsbury's initiatives to help British apple and pear growers.

Extensive research into optimal methods to grow the fruits is also being funded by Sainsbury's to help British produces to become the best in the world.

Three model orchards have already established completely new growing techniques giving growers the means to produce British apples with better quality and value than ever before, said Sainsbury's.

Sainsbury's stocks 40 different varieties of British apples throughout the year.

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