The control of False Codlingmoth (FCM) on a commercial basis through the application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT).

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PO Box 422 | Citrusdal | 7340

Western Cape | South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 22 921 2993

Fax: +27 (0) 22 921 2993

SIT is the process whereby masses of FCM are raised, sterilized and released in areas where FCM are a problem. Releases are done twice per week, on a continuous basis, by Xsit, for a period of 10 months stretching from September to June. The sterile insects mate with live insects, with no resultant offspring, thereby lowering the total wild population in the area. In the current scenario, this is done in citrus orchards in the Olifants River Valley in the Western Cape.

SIT is an area-wide technique which requires releases on all cultivars that are a host to FCM. This is vitally important so that all possible areas are covered which harbor FCM, so that an area of low-pest-prevalence may be attained.

While we are currently limited to the Western Cape, we are conducting trials in other citrus producing areas in Southern Africa, with a view to expanding the technology as quickly as possible.

FCM is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and has phytosanitary status in most of these countries. They have developed a high level of resistance to pesticides and are therefore extremely difficult to control on a commercial scale.

Trials conducted by Citrus Research International (CRI) showed that the application of SIT reduced the number of FCM infested fruit by 95%! The citrus industry immediately decided to fast-track the commercialization of SIT on FCM. They invested through Riverbioscience, the commercial leg of the Citrus Grower’s Association (CGA) and found a willing partner in Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), mandated by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to commercialize South African bio-technology.

A rearing facility was built in Citrusdal and commercial releases started in November 2007. Releases were done on 1600 hectares during that year and increased to 8500 hectares in the current season, spanning both the Oliphant’s River Valley in the Western Cape and the Sunday’s River Valley in the Eastern Cape.

The Rearing facility in Citrusdal, Western Cape

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Sterile FCM being released in the Olifants River Valley