CROP PROTECTION

Diamondback Moth

Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella)

The diamondback moth is one of the most destructive crop pests in the world. It feeds on brassica crops including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and canola. The moth is found around the world and costs growers US$4-5 billion each year.

The diamondback moth now shows resistance to almost every insecticide used to try and control it, including both synthetic chemicals and organic pesticides. Growers are therefore looking for new tools to fight this pest.

Read more about how our solution works here.

Our self-limiting diamondback moth has been assessed in contained glasshouse trials in the UK and the United States. These trials have shown that our moth is effective at reducing wild diamondback moth populations, as well as slowing spread of resistance to the biopesticide, Bt. These studies showed that the self-limiting diamondback moth can provide a highly effective pest suppression tool, and may protect the efficacy of other tools, such as biopesticides.

United States project

We have been working with the Shelton Lab in Cornell University’s Department of Entomology to assess our self-limiting diamondback moth. Open field trials were conducted in the summer of 2017 at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Agriculture Experiment Station in Geneva, NY. These trials examined the ability of our diamondback moth to survive and disperse in the field, and the results are currently being analyzed.

These field trials were regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), who issued a Finding Of No Significant Impact (FONSI) before the trial began.

Previous work at Cornell University in the summer of 2015 assessed the performance of our self-limiting male moths in large field cages. These trials found that our moths performed well with respect to longevity and mating ability.

Based on their performance, mathematical modelling indicated that regular releases of our moths would be effective at suppressing a pest population.

FACTSHEET

  • What kind of crop does it damage?
    Brassica species including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and canola.
  • How does it damage them?
    The female lays eggs on the crops, which hatch into caterpillars. These feed on the leaves and can strip them down until only the veins are left.
  • Where is it found?
    All around the world, wherever brassica crops are grown. It is the most universally distributed moth and can migrate into new areas with the help of strong winds.
  • What are the economic costs?
    Including costs for management and loss of crop yields, US$4-5 billion each year.