Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 5, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Several field studies have indicated that cotton fleahoppers prefer some wild host plants to cotton. We conducted laboratory studies to determine if odors from selected flowering weeds were more attractive to fleahoppers than were odors from squaring cotton plants. If so, synthetic attractants that mimic the odors from the preferred wild plants might be developed and used to cause fleahoppers to concentrate in restricted areas of cotton or other crops where they could be controlled with applications of insecticides; thus alleviating the need for broadcast spraying of whole cotton fields. Alternatively, synthetic attractants might be combined with a killing agent to formulate attract-and-kill baits that would be selective for fleahoppers. We tested three different flowering weed plants and found that fleahoppers were attracted by odors from each of them in preference to odors from squaring cotton plants. Further, we were able to collect the chemicals in the weed odors and then re-emit them. Odors from the re- emitted chemicals continued to be attractive to fleahoppers. These results indicate there is a good possibility the attractant chemicals in the weed odors can be identified and chemical formulations of these attractive odors can be created in the laboratory.
Technical Abstract: The relative attractiveness of volatiles from selected weed plants to adult cotton fleahoppers (Pseudatomoscelis seriatus Reuter) was determined in a series of two-choice olfactometer bioassays. Fleahoppers were attracted by odors from each of three flowering weeds including false ragweed (Parthenium hysterophorus L.), wooly croton (Croton capitatus Michx.), and horsemint (Monarda punctata L.) in preference to odors from squaring cotto (Gossypium hirsutum L.). False ragweed odors were preferred over those of croton and horsemint, which were comparable in attractiveness. Revolatilized chemical compounds, collected from the headspace volatiles of each of the three weeds tested, retained their attractiveness. These results indicate there is reasonably good potential for successful isolation and identification of the preferred attractants, and the subsequent development of synthetic mimic attractants that may be useful in nthe development of new attractant-based biorational management techniques for cotton fleahoppers.