Isolated finding of Thaumatotibia (Cryptophlebia) leucotreta on Capsicum chinensis in the Netherlands
The NPPO of the Netherlands recently informed the EPPO Secretariat of the first record of Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae - false codling moth) in a Dutch glasshouse on Capsicum chinense (Habanero chilli pepper). A crop inspection had been conducted in this glasshouse to trace-back an interception of T. leucotreta which had been made by the USA on C. chinense fruits imported from the Netherlands. On 2009-10-07, 1 larva of T. leucotreta was detected in a C. chinense fruit (not yet harvested) which was deformed. The Dutch NPPO explained that the production facility of this grower was connected to a packaging area in which capsicum fruits originating from Uganda were regularly processed and packed. The grower usually imported C. chinense fruits from Uganda from mid-November until March, and C. annuum fruits from Uganda during the whole year. Therefore, it was considered most likely that a consignment of infected peppers had caused the introduction of T. leucotreta into the production facility.
T. leucotreta is a polyphagous pest which feeds on more than 70 plant species, including important crops such as: Citrus spp., Capsicum spp., Gossypium hirsutum (cotton), Persea americana (avocado), Phaseolus spp., Prunus spp., Vitis spp. (grapevine), Olea spp., and Zea mays. Damage is mainly caused by larvae feeding inside the fruits. In some crops, such as on C. chinense, fruit deformation can be observed. T. leucotreta is known to occur in many African countries, south of the Sahara. The insect can be found on its host crops throughout the year in tropical and sub-tropical climates (without diapause). Larvae feed inside the fruits and then fall to the soil surface to pupate. T. leucotreta is a multivoltine species. For example, in South Africa where the pest breeds all year-round on oranges (C. sinensis), up to 6 generations per year have been observed.
A preliminary Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) has been conducted and concluded that the pest was unlikely to establish outdoors in the Netherlands and that it presented a low risk for the country. However, a fuller PRA was to be conducted by the Dutch NPPO before the end of 2009. The grower of the infested site has taken control measures to eradicate T. leucotreta from the premises. Growers and traders have been informed about this finding and the possible risks associated with the imports of Capsicum spp. from Africa and a surveillance programme using pheromone traps will be implemented.
The pest status of Thaumatotibia leucotreta in the Netherlands is officially declared as: Absent, isolated finding, only detected on Capsicum chinense.
NPPO of the Netherlands, 2009-11.