Insect Pheromones: Useful Lessons for Crustacean Pheromone Programs?



Insect pheromones, especially sex pheromones, have successfully contributed to pest management programs around the world since the 1970s. In this chapter I examine some of the ways in which pheromones have been used in insect management programs and introduce some of the real-world issues that have promoted, and hindered, their adoption for use against different species. These include biological differences in the mate-finding behaviors of different species, the chemistries of the pheromones that they use, the successful engineering of controlled-release dispensers for different compounds, as well as the different political, economic, and use-pattern-related situations that exist even just in the United States to more strictly regulate the use of some types of pheromones and techniques than others. The experiences of entomologists who have witnessed insect pheromones finding their place in integrated pest management systems over the past four decades should be instructive in helping crustacean biologists develop crustacean pheromone systems into useful management tools. By far the greatest use of insect pheromones has been for monitoring existing populations and detecting the presence of invasive species. Monitoring with pheromone traps allows for other, curative measures such as insecticide applications or cultural/biological controls to be implemented intelligently. Mating disruption has taken its place in different cropping systems around the world, especially in fruit orchards. Research has now shown that pheromone does not need to completely shut off mating, but merely impede it to the point of delaying first and second matings in females to reduce their fecundity by ca. 50%. Mass trapping by deploying large numbers of pheromone traps regularly spaced in the cropping area has reemerged as a viable and effective technique for using pheromones directly for population suppression. This use of pheromones has been most effective in male-emitted pheromone systems such as in pest species of weevils (snout beetles). In these systems females can be trapped out using the synthetic version of the male-emitted pheromone, and thus egg-laying is directly reduced by mass trapping of females. Although the experimental, technological, and legal hurdles of developing pheromones for widespread use in the field can seem daunting, experience has shown that with determination and a real need, these hurdles can be overcome.


Pheromone Component Pheromone Trap Mating Disruption Boll Weevil Mass Trapping 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Entomology, 105 Chemical Ecology LaboratoryPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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