Lure Targets Female Cutworms, Armyworms,
Fruitworms By Kathryn Barry Stelljes
November 29, 2000
A new lure should one day help fruit and vegetables growers
better control destructive cutworms, armyworms and fruitworms. The lure,
developed by Agricultural Research
Service scientists, is the first to attract females of these pests.
The bertha armyworm, spotted cutworm, Lacanobia
fruitworm, and true armyworm attack potato, corn, flax, canola, apples and
numerous vegetables. Recent losses from the fruitworm have been as high as 25
percent in some apples orchards.
In the past, widespread pesticide application was the only means
to effectively control the "worms," actually moth larvae or caterpillars. To
reduce pesticide use, researchers developed strategies for monitoring adult
moth behavior. Ideally, that allows growers to apply pesticide at specific
times before the moths reproduce and lay eggs. Or growers flood the area with
sex attractants, called pheromones, produced by the females to attract male
ARS entomologist Peter Landolt in Wapato, Wash., developed the
new lure, comprising the first known chemical attractants for females of these
species. By attracting females, growers will be able to more accurately predict
when to use pesticides or other control measures and can directly eliminate the
The lure consists of acetic acid and one or more alcohols. When
mixed, the compound produces a vapor attractive to the moths. Landolt is
working with Scenturion, Inc., of
Clinton, Wash., to develop dispensers for the lure under a cooperative research
and development agreement. They will also develop insecticide-loaded traps that
attract the moths using Landolt's lure and then kill trapped females so they
The team hopes to have the first commercial product available
within two years. ARS has applied for a patent on the lure (application no.
ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Peter J. Landolt, ARS Yakima
Agricultural Research Laboratory, Wapato, Wash., phone (509) 454-6551, fax
(509) 454-5646, email@example.com.