Push-Pull with synthetic attractants and repellents for control of fruit pests


Abstract: Insect pest species in fruit crops are controlled by a range of management strategies including cultural, biological and use of synthetic pesticides. Changes in insecticide approvals and climate change coupled with non-native species introductions are jeopardising current control practices and risk disrupting Integrated Pest Management. Push-pull strategies have an element which repels pests (the push), and an attractant source to draw pests away from the crop (the pull). The pull can be combined with a killing agent to prevent the pest re-entering the crop and to reduce population growth. Using synthetic semiochemicals, a push-pull system was tested for control of Lygus rugulipennis. We investigated whether strawberry fruit damage could be reduced by using synthetically produced repellents, attractants or a combination of the two (push-pull). In field trials with replicated plots (25 × 25 m) significantly fewer adult and nymph L. rugulipennis were present where either the push or push-pull combined was applied. There was no significant effect of the pull treatment when used alone. There were also significantly fewer damaged fruits where a ‘push’ treatment and a ‘pull’ treatment were combined compared to no treatment. To date, this is the first successful demonstration of a completely synthetic, push –pull system in fruit crops.

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