Outbreaks of the fig borer Batocera rufomaculata and other cerambycids in fruit plantations in Israel.
The fig borer, Batocera rufomaculata, was introduced into Israel, probably from Sri-Lanka, in the early 1950s. Within ten years much of the fig (Ficus carica) plantations had been destroyed by the borer. However, between the early 1960s and the 1980s the borer vanished completely from the scene. It reappeared in the early 1990s. Most reports on its occurrence date from 1997-98. At present, the borer is causing serious damage to fig plantations in the low areas of the north and central areas of Israel. We reviewed the current literature of its chemical management and summarized our trials in evaluating the phytotoxic effects of several approved insecticides on the figs and leaves, namely diazinon, methidathion, azinphos-methyl (WP and SC) and fipronil. Methidathion and azinphos-methyl (SC) caused severe burns on leaves and fruits. Injury caused by the fig borer was restricted by pruning infested branches and covering the cuts with pruning paste, removal of stumps colonized by borer larvae, pulling off larvae and pupae from the branches and applying to the wounds azinphos-methyl 25% as wettable powder. Injection of chlorpyrifos or monocrotophos to the fresh tunnels, dug by the borer, led to satisfactory control. Outbreaks of three other cerambycid species are briefly reported. Damage was inflicted to fig and willow trees and vineyards by Niphona picticornis and to fig and carob trees by Trichoferus griseus. Trichoferus fasciculatus destroyed numerous branches in sweet cherry plantations.