Exosex LBAM Tab secures temporary approval for blueberry moth fight

A temporary approval has been secured for the mating disruptor Exosex LBAM Tab to control the light brown apple moth in blueberry crops.

This moth is considered to be the biggest tortricid pest of blueberries across the world because it causes serious damage to both leaves and developing fruits. In the UK, it has been damaging the ever-increasing area of crops to the consternation of many growers.

Collaborative work between Horticultural Development Company technical manager Vivian Powell and manufacturer Exosect led to a submission to the Chemicals Regulation Directorate for this temporary 120-day approval, which runs until 25 August.

Blueberry grower and consultant Tim Sobey of TSA Consulting said blueberry growers would be delighted with this news.

"Blueberry crops seem to act like a magnet to light brown apple moth. I have compared the catches made by pheromone traps in apple and blueberry crops only 80m apart and found that only three moths per year have been caught in the apple orchard in a single season in contrast to five moths per day during peak mating periods in the blueberry crop."

He added: "In a bad year, up to 50 per cent of the crop can be affected. Although the leaves can recover from the damage, affected fruits become contaminated with the caterpillar, leading to the potential of major rejections from our customers".

A major advantage of Exosex LBAM Tab is that it works by disrupting the mating of the pest so it is ideally suited to integrated pest management programmes and avoids the risk of detectable pesticide residues.

For full details of the approval, email sue.harris@exosect.com.

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