Prays is the genus name of a class of Lepidoptera in the family Plutellidae. These small moths have nocturnal habits and, although they act from October, their maximum damage is caused at the beginning of spring. Olive tree prays are some of the most feared. In their most active moments, the prays can be a significant pest for several types of vegetables. In addition to the olive tree, they also attack cruciferous plants (radishes, cabbage, Kale, turnips…). How do these species affect crops? And how can they be controlled?
Olive and other crop prices, what are the consequences?
Although there are many species of prays, some like Prays oleae are among the most feared. This lepidoptera mainly affects the olive tree, also called the olive moth, and constitutes the second most fundamental pest after the olive fly. The larvae are the ones that cause the damage, and depending on the generation of prays to which they belong, they affect different parts of the plant. Thus, the first generation, or phyllophagus, is made up of the larvae. They enter the interior of the leaves and dig galleries inside to spend the winter devouring the leaf. From January to March they go outside, they are introduced into a different leaf to continue feeding. It is on these dates that its presence is noticeable, since it visibly gnaws at the parenchyma of the leaf.
The second generation, known as the anthophagous generation, appears from April to June and attacks the flowers. The female of a previous generation lays the eggs in the flower groups, from which the larvae hatch after seven days and penetrate the flower bud to feed on the pollen. Little by little they will eat the flower. The third, or carpophagous, acts from June to October, causing damage to the fruits. The spawning carried out by the second generation moths in the curdled olive, hatches and the larvae grow in just one week. Then, they penetrate the olive and feed on the stone. The attacked olives fall to the ground when the larva leaves the fruit, in mid-September, by the peduncle, beginning the cycle again.
How to treat the prays
An important issue is to understand what generation of prays we are facing, according to the date. For the first, agrobiotechnological aerial treatments designed to combat lepidoptera can be used. These are specific and direct, and do not harm other species. They are quite effective and can serve as preventatives and as treatment.
These same treatments, due to their safety, can be used with phases two and three, although they are not as effective due to the physiognomy of the fruit and flower, which may require additional treatments. The most efficient way to combat prays is to do it at the end of winter, when the larva of the first generation will go out in search of another leaf to feed on and will run into the barrier imposed by the treatment.