Author: Jocelyn Miller and Joseph Morse

This project has two main goals. First, we are working to establish colonies and mass rear some of the exotic scale species that are coming into California on shipments of fresh avocados from Mexico. We are also doing studies on the biology of these scales because little or no information is available, even for parameters as basic as how many generations a year they are likely to have, and how many offspring females produce, and the longevity of males and females. Second, we are using these colonies to try and identify sex pheromones for each species, so that the pheromones can be developed for use as sensitive tools for detection of these insects by growers and regulatory agencies along the California-Mexico border, or around packing-houses that handle shipments of fresh avocados from Mexico. Pheromone traps will also provide a very sensitive and selective means of detecting exotic scale species if populations start to develop in California. Early detection, while populations are still small and spread over a limited area, will provide the best possible chance of suppressing and eradicating any incursions of these species. If the CAC and regulatory agencies are not able to eradicate exotic scales before they become permanently established, pheromone traps will also be useful tools for monitoring, and possibly control using mating disruption or other pheromone-based control techniques.