Improvement of Codling Moth SIT to Facilitate Expansion of Field Application


To improve the application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) and inherited sterility (IS) for codling moth control and its integration with other environmentally friendly control methods to expand its use in field control applications and reduce insecticide use.


Codling moth (Cydia pomonella (L.)) (CM) is a serious pest of pome fruit and some walnut orchards in the temperate regions of all major continents. Between 60-80% of apples and pears can be infested on neglected apple and pear trees. Control of the CM has relied mostly on the intensive use of organophosphate and other broad-spectrum insecticides. The need for 4 to 5 spraying cycles in each growing season has led to the development of resistance and cross-resistance to most of the traditionally used insecticides and to the disruption of natural controls of the secondary pest complex. Alternative methods such as the use of insect growth regulators, mating disruption, attract and kill, biological control agents have only proven to be effective under certain conditions.
Environment friendly methods which show great potential for integration with these other methods for the control of Lepidoptera (including CM) are the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and inherited or F1 Sterility (IS). Considerable R&D and field evaluation are still required however, before the implementation of operational projects will be feasible. Several aspects of both the rearing and field application were addressed through a co-ordinated research approach:

  • research to improve the cost-effectiveness of rearing, sterilisation, release and distribution of sterile moths,
  • research to develop production and product quality control tests and standards to ensure consistent production of high quality moths,
  • research on the genetics of CM in order to facilitate the development of genetic sexing strains,
  • research on the genetics of CM populations in different regions,
  • research on the improvement of monitoring techniques,
  • research to better understand the combination of SIT with other techniques such as parasitoids, mating disruption etc.


Seven Contract Holders from Argentina (2), Armenia, Brazil, Chile and Syria (2); four Agreement Holders from Canada, USA, South Africa and Switzerland and two Technical Contracts from Canada and Czech Republic.


  • The final Evaluation Report summarizes achievements under this six-year CRP (2002-2007), and shows the list of publications prepared during the CRP by participating researches.
  • The final proceedings of this CRP are published in a special issue of the Journal of Applied Entomology and include an additional collection of peer-reviewed scientific publications.