By Dr. Kyle Jordan, Market Development Specialist
Mating disruption technology is rooted in the instinct to procreate. In nature, female Indianmeal moths (IMM) attract males by releasing sex pheromones, which the male moths follow. To control stored product pests, mating disruption technology interferes with the pheromone communication between male and female moths to prevent mating from occurring.
Once installed, pheromone dispensers send plumes of artificial pheromones into the air. Male moths cannot distinguish these artificial pheromones from those produced by female moths. Confused males follow the wrong pheromones, or become so overwhelmed by the amount of attractant in the air that they don’t search for a female at all. Because the moths fail to mate and lay eggs, fewer larvae are present to cause damage and mature into adults.
Remember, the mating disruption approach doesn’t kill adults. It simply reduces their ability to successfully mate and contribute to population growth.
It’s also important to note that, like other pest management processes, mating disruption relies heavily on an integrated approach. This includes an emphasis on sanitation, exclusion, inspection, and — if needed — conventional applications such as a space treatment or fumigation.
For measurement purposes, it’s also important to use IMM pheromone traps. These traps are not likely to attract many moths, but they will indicate the effectiveness of the mating disruption. If the monitoring trap count increases, for example, a new introduction of moths may have occurred and further investigation is required.
Mating disruption technology can offer many clear benefits for your customer, including:
- It reduces moth reproduction, thereby reducing the number of larvae produced.
- It reduces the need for frequent space treatments.
- It reduces cleanup and shutdown costs associated with traditional treatments.
- It provides a continuous control strategy.
- It has low mammalian toxicity.
- It is great for sensitive accounts.