In a 2-yr study, we investigated the efficacy of large-scale application of the biological insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis variety aizawai × kurstaki (Btk) in a Swedish spruce, Picea abies L. (Karst.), seed orchard for controlling damage caused by four lepidopteran species: Dioryctria abietella Den et. Schiff. (Pyralidae), Eupithecia abietaria Götze, E. analoga Djakonov (Geometridae), and Cydia strobilella (L.) (Tortricidae). The frequencies of these species, and Strobilomyia anthracina Czerny (Diptera: Anthomyiidae), were regularly monitored throughout the vegetative growth season to map their temporal distribution patterns and to quantify occurrences of species that may have been present in the cones at some stage during the season but migrated before the final sampling. This investigation revealed that E. abietaria occurred in similar numbers to D. abietella and has probably been overlooked as a potentially serious pest in spruce seed orchards in Sweden. To determine the number, timing, and rate of Btk required to control the lepidopterans, spraying was conducted at different phases of flowering and cone development, and three rates of Btk were applied. The Btk treatment reduced cone damage caused by D. abietella and Eupithecia spp. by one-half in 2002, a year with an intermediate number of cones, but the effect was weaker in 2003, when the cone crop was low. Damage caused by C. strobilella was not affected by the treatment. The different rates of Btk application did not affect the results, and repeated spraying seemed to be effective during 2002 but not in 2003.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2