The apple blossom weevil, Anthonomus pomorum is a herbivore pest of apple orchards in Europe. It used to be a minor pest but in recent years its economic effect has increased in several European countries to inacceptable levels due to decreasing use of broad-spectrum insecticides and the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) systems. No monitoring or management tools have yet been applied successfully since the ecology of A. pomorum is still poorly documented. To avoid the many negative effects of crop protection chemicals, the goal is to develop tools for an effective and sustainable pest management system.
Identifying heritable resistance traits of apple trees that lead to a decrease of infestation levels could be a first step towards breeding cultivars that are less susceptible to A. pomorum. Infestation levels of different cultivars of M. domestica as well as different genotypes of M. sylvestris were assessed. Particularly promising might be the development of odor traps using volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from apple blossom buds that guide female weevils in search of suitable host trees. Therefore, the headspace volatiles of apple blossoms were collected using Gerstel Twisters (stir-bar sorptive extraction/SBSE) that are currently being analyzed with a GC/MS.