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Sexual pheromone diffuser of the species Prays oleae to attract males, with a duration of 60 days in normal field conditions.

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Data sheet

Target pest Olive moth
Duration 60 days
OMDF register number 082/2013

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Sexual pheromone diffuser of the species Prays oleae to attract males, with a duration of 60 days in normal field conditions.

Diffuser of natural rubber in capsule-shape. It is packaged individually in an aluminium sachet with labelled instructions. Once taken out of the sachet, the diffuser does not need any activation operation. Simply place it directly in the trap.

The Prays oleae is an example of a parasite insect that adapts to its host with the co-evolution of insect-plant. Each of its three annual generations takes place in a different part of the plant. The nutritional value provided by these "menus", along with other conditions, allows them a greater or lesser speed of development which is needed for the perfect sychronisation with the tree's phenology.


The adult moth is silver-grey, 13-14 mm wide and 6 mm long.  The egg is white when newly-laid, lenticular, flat and 0.5 mm in diameter.  The egg turns yellow when it is ready to hatch.  The larva can grow to a maximum length of 8 mm and has variable colouration, mainly brown and green but always transparent. The chrysalis, which has no specific morphological features, is protected by silks and by plant debris both in the air and on the floor depending on the generation in question. The three generations that follow one after the other synchronise perfectly with the phenological evolution of the olive tree:

Anthophagous generation: In April and May the adults from the previous generation lay their eggs on closed flower buds, showing a marked preference for the cup.  The newborn larvae penetrate inside the button and feed primarily on the anthers and stigma.  It pupates on the new shoots and protects itself with the remains of dried flowers which are joined together with silk threads.  This generation evolves much faster than the others, completing its development in a month and a half.

Carpophagous generation: The adults that appear from May to June lay their eggs in small fruits mainly in the cup.  When the larvae hatch, they puncture the fruit and enter the olive before the stone has been able to harden. They feed on the seed until they exit in mid-September.  It exits to pupate in the soil up to the end of October.  The new adults position themselves on the leaves (in October), thus marking the beginning of the new philophagous generation.

Philophagous generation: The adults deposit their eggs on the leaves in October and November and the newborn larvae remain in inner galleries throughout the winter.  Its activity increases in February, it changes leaf several times and finally feeds on buds and leaves outside. They generally pupate inside a silken cocoon on the lower side of the leaf but they have been known to pupate on the tree trunk and in the soil.


For detection and monitoring of Prays oleae 1 trap should be set per hectare placed at crop level. Traps can be placed on a hanger for this purpose and traps should be set before the first generation appears.



Mostly the males of this species are captured, in order to reduce the mating, so that non-copulated females will have unviable eggs. This reduces the pest population

To carry out mass trapping the number of traps per area should be increased depending on the location and homogeneity of the crops. One trap can control an area of 1,000 m². This entails a trap density of 10 traps per hectare.




The trap ECONEX WHITE TRIANGULAR without sheets is activated by placing an ECONEX SHEET FOR TRIANGULAR (Code: TA248) at the base of it. The sheet is impregnated with a pressure sensitive adhesive, solvent free, in which insects are trapped.  The trap ECONEX DISPOSABLE WHITE TRIANGULAR is coated on its inner face with a layer of contact adhesive, solvent free, for the retention of the insects.

Both traps stand out above all for their simplicity of use, and will be operative until pheromone depletion or saturation of the sheet or adhesive surface. The pheromone diffuser is placed inside the trap on the sheet or adhesive surface.



To achieve good control of Prays oleae, it is advisable to combine the two methods: detection and monitoring and mass trapping. In spring you can place 1 trap per hectare to detect the pest and observe the level of their populations.

Through established thresholds of tolerance in each area, the control measures are later defined, in this case mass trapping. The threshold of tolerance for Prays oleae is very low and varies according to the area. Generally it is around 7 and 21 captures per trap and per week. Moment in which we recommend to set traps all over the crop for mass trapping.



Anthophagous generation: The damage that this generation causes is difficult to calculate.  A larva can destroy 20 to 30 flowers but in the olive tree for every 100 flowers only 2-3 fruit are set. The olive tree compensates for this loss of flowers with a larger set. Only in the case of low flowering and a high population of Prays oleae will there be a reduction in production.

Carpopahgous generation: This generation is the most damaging because it causes the fruit to fall.  The first fall (in June) is very difficult to assess because the tree offsets the loss by increasing the size of the remaining olives. This can be beneficial when the olives are unripe.  The second fall (in autumn), however, is very important because the olives have already developed and the tree has no time to compensate for any losses.

Philophagous generation:  No damage of economic importance is caused to the adult trees. Buds can only be destroyed in nurseries and young trees which can affect the tree's future.



Pest population, adjoining crops, level of control required, etc.

An important factor is crop size. More traps are needed in small and irregular sized crops than in uniform plots with a larger surface area. Another important factor is the distance from other plots that have the same pest. In such cases plot boundaries should be consolidated, so a trap density of up to 20 traps per hectare may be needed. More traps may be needed in the case of mass trappings



If technicians or farmers use the traps and pheromones as described here and when the first generation of adults emerge, then the effectiveness of this control system is very good, as proved by data from many organic farms. Where large crop areas are covered more than 95% of the pest is often controlled.

A factor limiting this system is where there are small farms in many places with neighbouring plots that have a high level of pest infestation.  Apart from some important basic rules in controlling Prays oleae effectively each farmer/technician should find his/her own system of achieving this and he/she may experiment with the system even establishing his/her own tolerance thresholds.



The diffusers must be kept in their original container and in a refrigerator at 4oC, or in the freezer at -18oC, in which case they will remain valid for 2 and 4 years respectively.


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