For male Indianmeal moths (IMM), the scent of a female is the ultimate aphrodisiac. To get male IMM in the mood, females need only to release sex pheromones. Males follow these chemical secretions and ultimately mate with the female, creating the next generation of stored product pests.
But the process can be stopped, with mating disruption technology. Pheromone dispensers send plumes of artificial pheromones into the air. Male IMM sense these artificial pheromones, but cannot distinguish them from those naturally produced by female IMM.
Confused males then either follow the wrong pheromones or become so overwhelmed by the amount of attractant in the air that they don’t search for a female, preventing them from mating. This process inhibits population growth. The fewer adult moths successfully mate, the fewer eggs are laid, and fewer larvae mature into adults.
Mating disruption offers various benefits, including:
⦁ reducing the need for frequent space treatments;
⦁ lowering cleanup and shutdown costs associated with traditional treatments;
⦁ providing a continuous control strategy;
⦁ containing low mammalian toxicity, making it ideal for sensitive accounts; and
⦁ locating the infested area/items, reducing time and product costs.
By Dr. Jason Meyers is Market Development Specialist at BASF Pest Control Solutions.