Application timing of bioinsecticides for the control of olive moth

The olive moth, Prays oleae, is an endemic pest in olive cultivars and one of the insect pests that can have a significant economic impact on this crop, causing up to 80% loss of yield.

Research conducted by Corteva within the NOVATERRA project over three years has demonstrated the critical importance of accurate application timing, particularly for bioinsecticides.

The standard practice among farmers is to spray against the first generation of olive moths after 10% flowering, around crop BBCH 60-68, and the second generation after the peak of adult trap captures. Following this application timing and performing two applications per generation at seven-day intervals using Bacillus thuringiensis, the average control obtained in two experiments in Spain was 47% after the first generation and 49% efficacy at harvest.

In contrast, when the application timing was more precisely targeted to catch the maximum number of young larvae (L1), specifically at BBCH 60-61 for the first generation and BBCH 70-71 for the second generation, with 5-7 day intervals between applications, checking trap captures, and ensuring egg viability at the second generation, the efficacy increased to an average of 80.5% control after the first generation in three trials in Spain.

It was not possible to continue assessments until harvest due to high temperatures and drought, which affected the pest population. However, the observed increase in control during the first generation is already very significant. This increase in control, demonstrated solely by the adjustment of application timing, makes a substantial difference for producers using bioinsecticides that act as larvicides.