Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/11/2002
Publication Date: 6/1/2002
Interpretive Summary: Several moths, such as fall armyworm, corn earworm, soybean looper, and velvetbean caterpillar, are pests whose larvae attack various row crops such as corn, cotton, rice, forage grasses, and peanuts in the eastern and central United States. These moths are present all year in southern Florida and Texas, but they migrate northward during spring. Growers of sweet corn in southern Florida may apply over 20 insecticide applications per season to control fall armyworm. Because of environmental concerns over insecticide applications, new population monitoring techniques and alternative control strategies are needed. Sex pheromone baits were developed and are used to detect and measure population sizes, but they only attract and capture male moths. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, are improving trapping techniques that will aid in monitoring adult populations. This report describes capture of soybean looper, velvetbean caterpillar, and corn earworm moths and other species in traps baited with synthetic floral chemicals. One chemical, phenylacetaldehyde, was best at attracting both male and female moths. Tests were conducted in peanut fields, and results showed that this chemical attracted over 90 soybean looper moths per night per trap, during peak flight. Overall, females comprised over 67% of the moths captured.
Technical Abstract: Male and female noctuid moths were collected from plastic bucket traps that were baited with different synthetic floral chemicals and placed in peanut fields. Traps baited with phenylacetaldehyde, benzyl acetate, and a blend of phenylacetaldehyde, benzyl acetate, and benzaldehyde, collected more soybean looper moths, Pseudoplusia includens (Walker), than benzaldehyde-baited or unbaited traps. Females comprised over 67% of the moths captured and most were mated. At peak capture, over 90 male and female moths per night were collected. In another experiment, phenylacetaldehyde delivered in plastic stoppers attracted more soybean looper moths than traps baited using other substrates, but this chemical delivered in wax attracted more velvetbean caterpillar moths (Anticarsia gemmatalis Hubner). Other noctuid male and female moths collected included Agrotis subterranea (F.), Argyrogramma verruca (F.), Helicoverpa zea (Boddie), and several Spodoptera species.