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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #278969

Research Project: Biorational Management of Insect Pests of Temperate Tree Fruits

Location: Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research

Title: Interaction of acetic acid and phenylacetaldehyde as attractants for trapping pest species of moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

item Landolt, Peter
item Toth, Miklos
item Meagher, Robert - Rob
item Szarukan, Istvan

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/18/2012
Publication Date: 4/10/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Landolt, P.J., Toth, M., Meagher Jr, R.L., Szarukan, I. 2013. Interaction of acetic acid and phenylacetaldehyde as attractants for trapping pest species of moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Pest Management Science. 69:245-249.

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, working with researchers at USDA-ARS Gainesville and the Hungarian Academy of Science, are seeking novel and more powerful moth feeding attractants from the chemistry of moth attraction to flowers, and the chemistry of moth attraction to fermented sweet baits. They determined that the microbial-produced chemical acetic acid enhances the attraction of the alfalfa looper and an armyworm to the floral scent chemical phenylacetaldehydethe. This information provides a new blend of chemicals that can be used to attract pest moths, and also suggests that additional lures may be developed from considering and evaluating combinations of flower chemicals and microbial fermentation chemicals.

Technical Abstract: Phenylacetaldehyde is a flower volatile and attractant for many nectar-seeking moths. Acetic acid is a microbial fermentation product that is present in insect sweet baits. It is weakly attractive to some moths and other insects, but can be additive or synergistic with other compounds to make more powerful insect lures. Acetic acid and phenylacetaldehyde presented together in traps made a stronger lure than either chemical alone, for moths of the alfalfa looper, Autographa californica (Speyer), and the armyworm, Spodoptera albula (Walker). However, this combination of chemicals reduced captures of the cabbage looper moth Trichoplusia ni (Hubner), the silver Y moth Autographa gamma (L.), MacDunnoughia confusa (Stephens), and the soybean looper moth Chrysodeixis includens (Walker), compared to phenylacetaldehyde alone. These results indicate both positive and negative interactions of acetic acide, a sugar fermentation odor cue, and phenylacetaldehyde, a floral scent cue, in eliciting orientation responses of moths. This research provides a new 2-component lure for the alfalfa looper and for the armyworm S.albula, for potential use in pest management.