CULT - Iris borer
I have jsut had a discussion with Dr. Lafontaine, the Canadian
Government expert on the Nocturidae, the group of moths that include the
iris borer. We discussed control and the fact that most of us would
prefer not to use Cygon if at all possible. He said that the moth can
not be controlled by pheromones used as attractants because tests on
Gipsy moths have shown that the elimination of 90% of the males still
resulted in all the females being fertilized. In other words, they are
He also said that, despite statements to the contrary, iris borers are
attacted to light although not very strongly. This means that light
traps might reduce the population in the vicinity of beds sufficient to
reduce the damage significantly.
In his view, fly or hymemopterous parasites would be the best approach
to find a biologically safe control method. I did not speak to the
Tachinid or Ichneumonid specialists about this but I know they have
databases which list the parasites for most hosts.
His most interesting comment came at the end when he said that the iris
borer has been recorded recently from a garden in Vancouverm British
Columbia. In other words, it has been transported to Western North
America. This means that the commerical growers in the
Washington/Oregon area should be on the watch for an invasion.
I would suggest that the AIS research budget should finance a graduate
student for the summer to work with someone like Dr Lafontaine on
potential control over the borer. This could involve a detailed review
of the literature followed by experiments on control using parasites and
light traps. He estimates that the cost would be about $6000 in our
dollars, which is about $4500US. One advantage of working in the
Agriculture Canada laboratories on a subject like that is that there are
about 50-100 scientists in the same group working on the same type of
subject who are always willing to provide help and advice. Is there
anyone on the list who is connected to the AIS research committee?
Ian in Ottawa