Joe Elkinton University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA USA Status Update on Winter Moth in New England
Discovery of winter moth in E. Massachusetts 2003 • Persistent outbreaks of spring-feeding geometrids have occurred in eastern Mass in the late 1990s • Large male flight at Xmas 2002 suggested something new: possibly winter moth Operophtera brumata, native to Europe. Boston Cape Cod
Widespread defoliation of many deciduous tree species: oaks, maples Failure of the blueberry crop June 5, 2006
Defoliation by winter moth In 2011 Map courtesy of Ken Gooch and Mass Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
A Elkinton et al. 2010 . Ann. Ent. Soc. Amer. 103:135-145.
Winter moths have been established in N. America twice before Nova Scotia before 1950 Pacific NW in 1970s
In both cases WM populations were permanently controlled by introducing two parasitoids from Europe • Cyzenis albicans • Agrypon flaveolatum Photos thanks to Nicholas Conder
Nova Scotia: Percent defoliation and parasitism following release (Embree 1966) First parasitoid release
The best place to collect winter moth parasitoids is Victoria, British Columbia Imre Otvos
The bio-control project mostly due to the heroic efforts of Jeff Boettner Jeff Boettner
In the last few years I have hired my own winter moth collecting crew on Vancouver Island
Winter moth parasite rearing in British Columbia in 2011: 130 five gal. buckets in motel = 62,800 pupae shipped to Quarantine.
First parasitoid release Last year (2010) we had the first clear evidence for establishment (recovery a year or more after release) of C. albicans at three of six release sites • We hope this follows the same trajectory as Nova Scotia
Flies Released 2005 - 2010 Flies Released 2011 Flies Recovered 2010 Flies Recovered 2011 Defoliation 2011 Cyzenis albicans Release and Recovery Sites 2005-2011
Summary of biological control effort We have now established Cyzenis albicans at 5 of 6 earlier release sites In 2011 we released spread 7000 flies out over 9 new release sites We have not yet seen the big increase in % parasitism that we are expecting. We believe it is just a matter of time