Genetically modified maize contains an insecticidal gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is an important component in integrated pest management strategies against lepidopteran pests of maize. A project is being implemented in the Western Cape of South Africa against the codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a pome fruit pest, using an area-wide integrated pest management approach with a sterile insect technique component. The project requires rearing of large numbers of the target pest for which an artificial diet that contains maize meal as the main ingredient is used. Most of the maize produced in South Africa is Bt maize, which is known to be toxic to codling moth. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of Bt maize in the diet of codling moth on its production parameters. Codling moths were reared for a period of 44 d on artificial diets that contained 5 different concentrations of Bt maize meal and a control using non-Bt maize. The use of Bt maize in the larval diet resulted in larval mortality, delayed larval development and larvae leaving the diet prematurely. Delayed larval development seemed to be the response with most negative consequences. Since optimal rearing of codling moth is not feasible using meal from genetically modified maize with insecticidal properties, another nutritious meal lacking an insecticidal component must be substituted in the artificial diet.
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Vol. 99 • No. sp1