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Artichoke Plume Moth

Artichoke Plume Moth (Platyptilia carduidactyla) Adults of the artichoke plume moth vary in color from buff to brownish buff, with a wing expanse of 0.75 to 1.25 inches. Both fore and hind wings are divided into lobes, giving the appearance of several pairs of wings; the hind wings are fringed. Young larvae are pale yellow; older larvae are off white and turn yellow to pink at maturity.

Artichoke Plume Moth

Artichoke Plume Moth

The larvae will feed on any part of the artichoke plant economic damage is mainly from feeding on floral buds, as damaged shoots will often recover. The artichoke plume moth is mainly a problem where artichokes are grown as perennials.

Host Plants Artichoke plume moth attacks thistles in the family Compositae. Several weedy Cirsium species are suitable hosts, and some are preferred over globe artichoke. This pest is found on artichokes and similar species and are are found on grapes. They feed by chewing new leaves and bore into stems, stalks, and buds. This feeding occurs in the spring.

Life Cycle : Female moths lay an average of 245 eggs. Eggs are usually laid singly on the underside of leaves and occasionally on the bud stalk. The freshly deposited eggs are light greenish yellow and turn darker with age.

Larvae hatch and feed externally on leaves of vegetative shoots. After the first molt, larvae start tunneling into the leaf stalk. Some larvae may move toward the leaf petiole or toward the buds and mine the outer bracts. With each subsequent molt, the larvae work their way toward the center of the bud. Larvae undergo four to five instars. When close to pupation, larvae cease feeding and emerge from the feeding site and generally drop to the ground. Pupation generally occurs in plant debris, among folds of dried up leaves. There are three to four overlapping generations of the plume moth a year.

Damage : Larvae will feed on any part of the plant, but the economic damage occurs when they feed on the floral buds and render them unmarketable. Occasionally plants are damaged when the larvae feed in the developing plant shoots; damaged shoots, however, often recover. Larvae may also bore into the crown below the soil surface. If infested crowns are used for vegetative propagation, the pest will establish itself quickly in the newly planted field.

Management: Artichoke plume moth is primarily a problem where artichokes are grown as perennials. Management of artichoke plume moth in established perennial artichoke fields is divided into two periods that utilize different management regimes. The two periods are the summer from stalk cut back until September and the winter ditch period from September to May. During the summer period, artichokes are growing vegetatively and are irrigated on a 3-week schedule. Following irrigation, fields are cultivated and, if needed, insecticides can be applied by ground rig. During the winter ditch period, insecticide treatments must be applied by air. Need for treatment is determined by pheromone trap catches and field monitoring.

Artichoke Plume Moth

Artichoke Plume Moth

Natural enemies, especially parasitic wasps, attack the artichoke plume moth. Most of the parasites attack the larvae. However, these parasites are seldom important in control because the larva spends most of its time feeding within the plant, protected from natural enemies.

The way in which the infested artichokes are handled during harvestingis important, especially in early spring months. As they work in the fields, harvest crews should be able to identify infested buds, pick them immediately, regardless of stage of maturity, and remove them from the field.

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