Avocado Seed Weevil Research Aims to Isolate Pheromone for Trapping
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), avocado seed weevil are of high concern because the pests could arrive in the U.S. within imported avocados from Mexico and Colombia — two nations with high levels of the pest. In an effort to proactively address the invasive threat of avocado seed weevils, a research program to identify pheromones released by male weevils was launched. The research is supported by California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation Proactive Integrated Pest Management Solutions grant program as well as the California Avocado Commission.
If the male weevil pheromone can be identified and synthesized, it may play an important role in monitoring incursions of the pest. It also could be used as a trapping tool. If successful, the researchers will run field tests in Mexico next year with a goal of testing potential trap designs.
The avocado weevil feeds on immature fruit generally 4 – 5 cm in diameter, as well as young stems and leaves. The females lay eggs inside holes they drill into the fruit and then the larvae bore through the pulp to the seed. Once mature, the new adults bore out of the seed and through the fruit making the fruit unmarketable.
The California Avocado Commission will continue to apprise growers of the latest advances in avocado seed weevil research. For more detailed information about the avocado seed weevil, read Dr. Mark Hoodle’s latest blog post about the pest.