Observations on the biological control agents of the American plum borer (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) in Michigan cherry and plum orchards

David J. Biddinger, Timothy W. Leslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The American plum borer, Euzophera semifuneralis (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is an important pest in orchards, yet little is known regarding its biological control. We performed a comprehensive survey of the natural enemy complex contributing to American plum borer control in Michigan plum and cherry orchards, while also exploring the relationship between pest infestation and tree wounding from mechanical harvesting. We scouted 30 orchards with varying degrees of tree wounding to document extent of infestations of American plum borer and another pest, the lesser peach borer, Synanthedon pictipes (Grote and Robinson) (Lepidoptera: Sessiidae). We simultaneously recorded biological control agents, including the presence of a Hirsutella fungal pathogen. Live American plum borer larvae and pupae were collected for rearing and identifying hymenopteran parasitoids. American plum borer infestations were highest in orchards with high levels of tree wounding, or in orchards that used minimum pesticides or were abandoned. Numerous organisms were documented as biological control agents including various species of birds, spiders, beetles, and ants. Ichneumon wasps were the dominant parasitoids, of which Venturia nigricoxalis (Cushman) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) was the most common. Liotryphon variatipes (Provancher) (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) was commonly reared from a closely associated sessiid pest, but not from American plum borer. Hirsutella was commonly found and had a density-dependent relationship with American plum borer infestations. Our information gathered on the natural enemy complex of E. semifuneralis includes many new host associations and can serve as a starting point for developing biological control programs for fruit orchards in the Great Lakes region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-65
Number of pages15
JournalGreat Lakes Entomologist
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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