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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #195121


item Landolt, Peter

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/29/2006
Publication Date: 2/1/2007
Citation: De Camelo, L.A., Landolt, P.J., Zack, R.S. 2007. A kairomone based attract-and-kill system effective against alfalfa looper (lepidoptera: noctuidae).Journal of Economic Entomology. Vol. 100(2):366-374.

Interpretive Summary: New methods and approaches are needed to control noctuid moths that are pests of vegetable crops. Chemical attractants are used in traps to determining the presence and abundance of an insect pest and can also be used in association with a pesticide to attract and then kill pests, thereby reducing reproduction and populations. Researchers at the USDA-ARS laboratory in Wapato, Washington, in collaboration with scientists at Washington State University, Pullman, WA are using novel feeding attractants to develop attract-and-kill technologies to control pest moths species. They determined that an attract-and-kill system comprised of a flower based feeding attractant, a visual flower mimic, and a pesticide formulation, was effective in attracting and killing alfalfa looper moths in a wind tunnel, reduced moth populations in field plots, and directly controlled egg laying and larval infestations on plants in screen houses. A density of ca 50 attract and kill stations per acre sufficed to reduce numbers of female moths by 80 to 90% in the field and reduce larval numbers by 98.5% in a screenhouse. This information indicates that attract and kill approaches may be an effective way to manage looper moths on some crops, with greatly reduced amounts of pesticides.

Technical Abstract: A chemical lure derived from flowers that are visited by moths attracts male and female alfalfa looper moths. This feeding attractant can be dispensed from polypropylene bottles that provide controlled release for extended periods of time. A killing station was tested in the laboratory, in a screen house, and in the field for use in combination with this lure as an “attract-and-kill” system. Starved alfalfa looper moths were strongly attracted to the attract-and-kill station in a flight tunnel, and 90.9% of female moths and 87.6% of male moths that contacted the station died. In commercial fields of alfalfa hay, female moths captured in monitoring traps were reduced by 80 to 93% in plots receiving 125 attract-and-kill stations per hectare. In screen house trials using the same attract-and-kill stations, oviposition on potted lettuce plants by starved female alfalfa looper moths was reduced by 98.5% with the use of 2 attract-and-kill stations per screen house. Moths were less likely to be attracted to lures when provided sugar prior to flight tunnel assays, and fed moths were much less affected by attract-and-kill stations in screen house trials, compared to starved moths. This method has potential as a means to manage alfalfa looper populations in vegetable and other agricultural crops. However, consideration must be given to competing food and odor sources in the field.