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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Odorants of the Flowers of Butterfly Bush, Buddleia davidii as Possible Attractants of Pest Species of Moths

item Guedot, Christelle
item Landolt, Peter
item Smithhisler, Connie

Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2008
Publication Date: 12/10/2008
Citation: Guedot, C.N., Landolt, P.J., Smithhisler, C. 2008. Odorants of the Flowers of Butterfly Bush, Buddleia davidii as Possible Attractants of Pest Species of Moths. Florida Entomologist 91(4):576-582.

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 are seeking novel moth feeding attractants from flowers. They determined that several pest moths, such as the alfalfa looper and cabbage looper, are regular visitors at flowers of butterfly bush, Buddelia sp. The odor of butterfly bush flowers was characterized, with all major components identified. Two of these compounds elicit responses in antennae of alfalfa looper moths, and four elicit responses in cabbage looper moths. This information provides a set of 4 compounds that may be attractive to looper moths that are pests of numerous vegetable and forage crops.

Technical Abstract: Flowers of the butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii Franch., are visited by butterflies and moths, as well as other insects. Moths captured in traps over flowers were 21 species of Geometridae, Noctuidae, Pyralidae, and Tortricidae. The most abundant moths trapped at these flowers were the cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni (Hubner), and the alfalfa looper, Autographa californica (Speyer). Additional pest species of moths in traps at butterfly bush flowers were the true armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta (Hawarth), and the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie). For all fur of these moth species, both males and females were captured in traps placed over butterfly bush flowers. Additionally, butterflies, bees, wasps, flies, and other insects were also captured. Analysis of volatile compounds collected from air over clusters of butterfly bush flowers yielded the consistent presence of nine chemicals: benzaldehyde, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, hexyl acetate, 4-oxoisophorone, E,E-'-farnesene, cinnamaldehyde, 1,4-cyclohexadione, '-cyclocitral, and 1,3,3-trimethyl-7oxabicyclo [4,1,0]-heptan-2,5-dione. Emitted amounts of these floral odorants were 57 nanograms per hour per floret or 21 micrograms per hour per flower cluster (raceme). Four of those floral chemicals, benzaldehyde, 4-oxoisophorone, 1,4-cyclohexadione, and E,E-'-farnesene, triggered antennal responses in cabbage looper moths, while benzaldehyde and 4-oxoisophorone also stimulated antennal responses in alfalfa looper moths. Some of these may be attractants or co-attractants for moths or other insects.

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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