05/16/02 - Cactus Moth is a Threat to US Opuntia Cactus

Ken A. Bloem
National Biological Control Institute
Tallahassee, FL
(850) 894-2662

The cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum (Berg), has continued to expand its range along both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is now found as far north as Charleston, SC and as far west as Piney Island and the St. Mark's Wildlife Refuge south of Tallahassee, FL. Although larvae were intercepted on infested nursery stock at a Wal-Mart Store in Pensacola, FL in July 2000, the recent findings in the St. Mark's area appear to be due to natural spread. There continues to be almost no confirmed records of inland movement. A report of the moth in Loxahatchee, Palm County, FL in June 1992 by FDACS, 24 km inland from the Atlantic Ocean, is the most inland record that we are aware of.

For more information you can access the proceedings of a workshop on Cactoblastis cactorum in North America at: http://www.fcla.edu/FlaEnt/fe844.htm..

Please Help! We would very much like to hear from you if you know of infestations in your area or if you know of the location of Opuntia cactus stands that we could check, particularly if the sites are inland or in front of the leading edge. Please contact: Dr. Stephen Hight, Tel.: 850-412-7262; Fax: 850-412-7263; hight@nettally.com.

Read the Featured Creatures file on this species at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/cactus_moth.htm

The UF/IFAS Pest Alert WWW site is at: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/pestalert/