The fruit piercing Moth, Othreis fullonia, is a regular guest at our Orchard, which is situated about 8kms from Yeppoon, Central Queensland. This friendly little devil arrives within the last fortnight of November, and although most of his mates have now gone, he is still here with a few of his brothers and sisters. It is now early February.
The reason I call him friendly, is because any man, dog or whatever that eats as much fruit juice as this bloke can't be all that bad - or can he?
Early in December we were collecting up to 100 of these little devils a night in the Tai So Lychee Orchard.
Anyway, variety being the spice of life, when he had his fill of Tai So Lychee, he decided that it was mango time, and didn't he have a picnic!!! He sure does like them pretty green!
After the mangos were picked, I didn't need to buy much chook feed, and the eggs were nice and yellow.
Following the mangos, we had a fair crop of our 9-year-old Kwai May Red lychees. Currently, there are 25 of these and I, as well as every other friendly little devil, consider these fruit a real treat.
What really cheesed me right off was when these little blighters went and told their big ugly mates, the elephant beetles, where the good tucker was. Moth numbers dropped off to 25-30, while the beetles were being stomped and chomped at the rate of 100-120 a night.
My wife, Lynette, hates these beetles so much she chops them with a pair of secateurs.
These beetles have to be the noisiest, greediest, ugliest and dirtiest devils that ever took a bite out of a lychee. They love longans too! Two or three of these ugly brutes will munch on a fruit, leaving only the seed and a little bit of skin. After all of this you would think they would be happy, but no, they then proceed to leaf all over the remaining fruit on the panicle, and they can't even do this quietly - the rowdy, messy buggers!
John Barrett, a retired Entomologist, suggested that UV lights might solve some of these problems.
I have now set one up and am catching 40-50 beetles a night. The drop in numbers is most probably attributable to the fact that only a few longans are on at the moment. Only a handful of moths have been caught, and I think this is due to them having moved on and probably not being as attracted to the light.
I think the best way would be to set several lights up around the perimeter of the orchard, and in our instance, particularly the northern side.
The light should be placed in front of a backdrop of white cheese cloth or like material with a tent fly-type awning across the top. The insects attach themselves to the backdrop and awning.
If this works, and it seems it might, I just could have the buggers on the run!!!
DATE: March 1992
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