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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383690

Research Project: Sustainable Approaches for Pest Management in Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Evaluation of 13-Tetradecenyl Acetate Pheromone for Melanotus communis (Coleoptera: Elateridae) detection in North Carolina row crop agroecosystems

Author
item PELLEGRINO, ALYSSA - North Carolina State University
item Dorman, Seth
item Williams, Livy
item MILLAR, JOCELYN - University Of California
item HUSETH, ANDERS - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/9/2021
Publication Date: 8/3/2021
Citation: Pellegrino, A.M., Dorman, S.J., Williams Iii, L.H., Millar, J.G., Huseth, A.S. 2021. Evaluation of 13-Tetradecenyl Acetate Pheromone for Melanotus communis (Coleoptera: Elateridae) detection in North Carolina row crop agroecosystem . Environmental Entomology. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvab075.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvab075

Interpretive Summary: Insect-derived chemicals that modify pest behavior have been used for more than 50 years for monitoring and management of insect pests of agriculture. These compounds include attractants which are species-specific, environmentally benign, and inexpensive. Sex attractants, compounds produced by one sex to attract the other sex, are particularly useful pest management tools. The goal of this study was to use the sex attractant of a pestiferous click beetle, commonly called the corn wireworm, to characterize the effect of agricultural landscape composition on beetle abundance. We established a two year study in the North Carolina sweetpotato growing region to: 1) evaluate the effectiveness and relative attractiveness of the attractant and two chemically similar compounds to the corn wireworm and close taxonomic relatives, and 2) characterize the effects of proximity of different crops on beetle capture rates. For the first study, our results indicated that the sex attractant was the most effective corn wireworm lure when compared to unbaited traps and traps baited with the two similar compounds, and that no other species were attracted to the lures. The second study documented a strong association between corn wireworm captures and the nearby crop type. For example, we found that adult corn wireworm abundance was greatest near corn, followed by sweetpotato, and then cotton. Trap capture rates were highest in July. Overall, this project demonstrates the usefulness of attractant-baited traps in providing new information about corn wireworm activity and abundance, and reinforces existing research documenting the association of this pest to specific crops in the agricultural landscape.

Technical Abstract: Melanotus communis Gyllenhal (Coleoptera: Elateridae) larvae are a common soil-dwelling pest of many crops, including sweetpotato, grains, and tobacco. Although many studies have focused on the larval stage of this pest, the seasonal activity and ecology of the adults (click beetles) are not well understood. The overarching goal of this study was to relate M. communis adult activity to landscape composition and configuration in the sweetpotato agroecosystem. To do this, we conducted a two-year study documenting male M. communis activity, using a recently identified sex attractant pheromone, 13-tetradecenyl acetate. This project was divided into two parts: 1) a pheromone assessment study testing the efficacy and specificity of 13-tetradecenyl acetate and two analogs, 13-tetradecenyl butyrate and 13-tetradecenyl hexanoate, and 2) a landscape survey using traps baited with 13-tetradecenyl acetate. Results of the efficacy study showed that 13-tetradecenyl acetate was the most effective M. communis lure when compared to non-baited control traps or traps baited with the two homologs. The landscape study documented a strong association between M. communis catch and the adjacent crop type. We found that adult M. communis abundance was greatest near corn, followed by sweetpotato, and then cotton. Analysis of activity over time found that the peak activity occurred during July. Overall, this project demonstrates the usefulness of pheromone-baited traps in providing new information about M. communis activity, and reinforces existing research documenting the association of this pest to specific host crops in the landscape.