Submitted to: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/2003
Publication Date: 9/1/2003
Citation: Zhang, A., Oliver, J.E., Chauhan, K.R., Zhao, B., Xia, L., Xu, Z. 2003. Sex pheromone for cranberry blossom worm, Epiglae apiata. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 29(9):2153-2164.
Interpretive Summary: The cranberry blossom worm is one of the three most important pests of cranberry. In addition to cranberries, this insect also feeds on blueberry throughout the Northeastern United States from Maine to Illinois. Cranberry blossom worm larvae feed voraciously on entire leaves and flowers, and often cut off many more blossoms than they actually eat (as many as 100 blossoms over a three-week period for each larva). Failure to detect infestations is a major factor contributing to severe crop losses from this insect, and the nocturnal habit and localized infestations also complicate detection of cranberry blossom worm infestations. Capture of adult moths in traps baited with natural attractant (pheromone) could help detect and predict the severity of infestations so that timely pest management interventions could be initiated. We have identified the sex pheromone of this pest. The synthetic lure for this moth should be useful to commercial growers of cranberries and blueberries as a monitoring tool, and the attractant may eventually be useful to directly control this pest by mass-trapping adult moths or disrupting their mating.
Technical Abstract: The cranberry blossom worm, Epiglaea apiata (Grote) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is a major pest of cranberries, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Aitan), in New Jersey. The sex pheromone of this insect was identified to be a blend of (Z)-9-hexadecenyl acetate (Z9-16:Ac), (Z)-9-tetradecenyl acetate (Z9-14:Ac), and tetradecyl acetate (14:Ac) by gas chromatographic-electroantennographic detection and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The ratio of the components in extracts of the female pheromone gland was determined as a mean of 65 : 2 : 33 of the Z9-16:Ac, Z9-14:Ac, and 14:Ac, respectively. The double-bound position of the pheromone was confirmed by dimethyl disulfide derivatization. Field trials with synthetic compounds indicated that the major component, Z9-16:Ac, was not attractive by itself; the minor component, Z9-14:Ac, was essential to pheromone activity. Addition of the saturated component, 14:Ac, to a blend of Z9-16:Ac and Z9-14:Ac caused a significant increase in trap catches. A dose of 100-micro grams of synthetic blend containing Z9-16:Ac, Z9-14:Ac, and 14:Ac, in the ratio of 65 : 2 : 33, on a rubber septum was effective in attracting male moths in the field, but 300-micro grams and 1000-micro grams doses were significantly more attractive than the 100-micro grams dose.