Title: GYPSY MOTH MATING DISRUPTION RESEARCH UPDATE
Submitted to: Annual Gypsy Moth Review Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 31, 2003
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The gypsy moth, a serious pest of hardwood trees, is currently established in the northeastern United States. As it expands its range to the west and south it causes severe economic damage in newly infested areas. In 2003, 550,000 acres were treated with the gypsy moth sex pheromone, disparlure, to prevent moths from mating and thereby slow their rate of expansion into new areas. Unlike most other control methods available for this pest, mating disruption only affects the gypsy moth and therefore has no unintended environmental impacts. While the existing plastic laminate flake formulation used operationally is highly effective, the availability of new products would allow a greater number of contractors to bid on aerial spray work, possibly reducing the cost and increasing the number of acres which could be treated. In 2003, a field test was conducted to evaluate five new experimental gypsy moth mating disruption formulations. All of the experimental formulations reduced gypsy moth trap capture, and four of the five formulations reduced moth capture in treated plots by more than 80%. The most promising formulations will be subjected to further field testing in 2004. The information presented in this report will make available a wider array of formulations for use by government agencies, gypsy moth control specialists, and other persons involved in gypsy moth mating disruption programs.
Mating disruption has proved to be a highly effective tactic in the national Slow-the-Spread of the Gypsy Moth project (STS) ' a federally-funded effort involving over 100 million acres of forested land from Wisconsin to North Carolina. Currently, a laminated plastic flake product (Disrupt II, Hercon Environmental, Emigsville, PA) is the only mating disruption formulation used operationally in STS. While this is a very effective product, it requires specialized equipment for aerial application, which limits the number of contractors that can participate. To address this limitation, five new formulations from three separate manufacturers were field tested in forested plots in central Virginia in 2003. Included were plastic laminated flakes, granules, plastic fibers, and a sprayable microcapsule formulation. All formulations were tested at 15 and 6 g/a.i. per acre. Products were evaluated by measuring reductions in moth capture in pheromone traps in treated plots compared to control plots. Disrupt II flakes achieved 98.3 and 95.2% reduction over the controls at the 15 and 6 g rates, respectively. Four of the five experimental formulations achieved greater than 80% reduction in trap catch compared to controls at the 15 g rate, and three reduced trap catch more than 80% at the 6 g rate. The most promising formulations will be subjected to further field testing in 2004.