Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 July 2009
The daytime resting sites of adult Conopomorpha cramerella (Snellen), a serious pest of cocoa in south-east Asia, were identified as a possible target to which insecticide could be selectively applied. Field observations were made on 126 resting moths in a cocoa plantation in East Malaysia. All moths were found on the undersides of branches 45° or less from horizontal, and 1·5 cm or more in diameter; 90% were found in the lower half of trees. A field trial was conducted in which 25 ppm deltamethrin was applied with knapsack sprayers to these sites. Five applications were made at ten day intervals, each crop season (6 months), over a two year period. Mean estimated losses in the sprayed area were 12.1 to 33.7 percentage points lower than in the control area, giving an estimated net benefit of up to RM978 ha in one season, assuming a cocoa price of RM4000 per tonne. Losses in the sprayed area still ranged from 7.0% to 43·1% and did not decline over successive seasons. There was some evidence for immigration into the sprayed area, but it is suggested the rapid recovery of populations following spraying is also due to the high potential rate of increase of the insect in susceptible cocoa varieties. In susceptible cocoa varieties control is always likely to be difficult, but in less susceptible varieties, and with well maintained trees, chemical control by selective application to adult resting sites can be a practical component of integrated control.