Artichokes (California’s Official Vegetable) Would be Heavily Damaged Without Insecticides

Artichoke Plume Moth Damage

Artichoke Plume Moth Damage

Artichoke Plume Moth Larvae

Artichoke Plume Moth Larvae

In 2013, artichokes were proclaimed to be California’s official vegetable.99.99% of all commercially-grown artichokes are grown in California. The artichoke is a member of the thistle family and was introduced into California in the mid-1800s where it was met by a native insect that had been feeding on wild thistle plants. The insect quickly adapted and began feeding on artichokes and has become known as the artichoke plume moth. Losses result when they feed on artichoke buds and make them unmarketable due to tunneling in the leaves, borings inside the heads, and a blackening of the heads resulting from feeding and frass exudation. Before the introduction of chemical insecticides in the early 1950s, 50-70% of California’s artichokes were unmarketable because of the moth damage.

“Artichoke plume moth (APM), Platyptilia carduidactyla (riley) (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae) is the most serious and persistent pest of artichokes in California. If unchecked, 70% of the artichoke buds are rendered unmarketable from worm damage. Insecticides are the most important and sole means currently used for the management of this pest.”

Author: Bari, M. A.
Affiliation: Artichoke Research Association.
Title: A potential alternative in the control of artichoke plume moth.
Source: CAPCA Advisor. 2007. October. Pgs. 58-60.

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