Leek Moth

Acrolepiopsis assectella, Leek Moth or Onion moth

Leek moth, Acrolepiopsis assectella, is an economically important pest of the crop plant under genus Allium.

The main host plants are leek and onion. This common pest is distributed throughout Europe from Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Yugoslavia (CIE, 1980). It is also distributed in southern Scandinavia, extending across Russia to Siberia (Zhang, 1994). Leek moth is also reported as an economic insect in Algeria (Lecomte, 1976) and Japan.

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Females lay about 100 eggs, each alone at the base of the host plant. The eggs hatch in 5 to 8 days. Larval development involves five instars and takes 15 days at 25°C.

The larvae are 10 -12 mm in length. The larvae pupate in an open-network cocoon on dead vegetation. Pupal duration is 10 days at 25°C (INRA, 2000).

The adult moths are 16 to 18 mm in wingspan (INRA, 2000) (15 mm in wingspan according to Carter, 1984). The head and thorax are dark brown; the abdomen, greyish brown. The antennae are simple and filiform (Carter, 1984). The moths of the second generation hibernate in plant debris (Carter, 1984; INRA, 2000).  Influenced by temperature, the adults resume dusk and night flights in March or April (INRA, 2000).

The females fly at night in an irregular zigzag pattern. Copulation occurs in the early morning and lasts for several hours.

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Trap application guidelines

Do not re-use the trap to monitor different insects as this may lead to mixed catches. One trap for every two hectares of large scale fields of homogenous lands.

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Lures for pest monitoring


Lures can be changed every 4-6 weeks to get the most accurate results.

Lures handling

Pheromone lures are a very sensitive tool. They can be affected by exposure to elevated heat and direct sunshine. Direct touching by hand may cause cross contamination leading to mixed catches in the trap. Some contaminants such as Nicotine May have repellent effect reducing trap catch.

Lure Storage

Store in a cool dry place.

Shelf life can vary from 3-36 months depending on the storage temperature.

See Technical Data Sheet for further details.

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