How to establish adequate strategies for the control of olive moth using bio-insecticides in the Mediterranean region

Prays oleae is the main insect pest threatening olive crop productions across the Mediterranean region. Farmers are used to conventional insecticides, which usually have a wide window of application and also may be systemic or penetrate in the plant tissues and fruits. When approaching the change of practices to move to biocontrol, we need to consider several aspects like, for instance, understanding the mode of action of the bio-product, if it has a repellency effect and which pest stages may affect. Usually bio-insecticides will only have contact effect, and not systemicity, and will be likely affected by rains. For these reasons a close tracking of the pest cycle with monitoring traps is recommended, understanding when adult fly starts at each generation in order to carry out the first application on time, and if crop vegetation grows quickly, run a couple of applications per generation in a week interval.

If significant rain happens after the application with a biocontrol product, it is usually recommended reapply, as it will be rainwashed. If the product has the repellency effect previously mentioned, doing the first application just after adult fly start will be very important, as it will reduce the oviposition. Having enough information about the levels of control that can be reached is important to decide the possibility to work on mixtures and combinations, studying different ratios in these mixtures as well as different timing of applications and intervals between them. Final success will depend on the right strategy considering all mentioned aspects having a good tracking of the pest cycle in the farm.