Why do we use pheromones?

With the introduction of new EU legislation, the number of pesticides available for the control of insect pests has been reduced. As a result, a rise in resistance to commonly used insecticides is occurring and growers are finding it increasingly difficult to find effective and economical ways to manage pests without dramatically increasing production costs. These issues are exacerbated by the growing pressures from the government, the market and the general public to reduce pesticide usage and residues.

Both scientific research and grower experience have shown that pheromones and other semiochemicals are effective tools for monitoring and controlling a wide range of insect pests, in a variety of settings, including agriculture, horticulture, forestry and grain storage. When used properly, pheromone based monitoring systems can prevent the unnecessary use of pesticides, while control strategies such as mass trapping and mating disruption offer direct alternatives to growers. Over the last three decades, pheromone products have played a significant role in the monitoring and control of pests of economic importance, including the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, and the codling moth, Cydia pomonella.

History of Pheromones

1959

German chemist Adolf Butenandt isolates and characterizes the first insect pheromone, that of the domestic silkworm moth.

1966

Chemist Robert Silverstein and entomologist David Wood demonstrate that all three components of the bark beetles pheromone blend are required to attract the beetles-a phenomenon known as synergism.

1970s

Farmers begin to use pheromones for monitoring insect pests in order to reduce insecticide use.

1978

First pheromone is registered in the United States for commercial use in mating disruption- against the pink bollworm on cotton.

1980

Pheromones are used in more than a million traps to capture more than four billion beetles, curbing an epidemic of bark beetles in the forests of Norway and Sweden.

1982

The advent of GC-EAG, enabling researchers to pinpoint biologically active compounds by directly measuring antennal responses.

2000

Characterisation of insect olfactory receptors. An understanding of how glomeruli (small spherical neurosensory structures) receive sensory information from olfactory sensory neurons and the combinatorial way in which they function as different glomeruli become activated by different odours.

2015

An estimated 600,000 acres of apple, pear and walnut worldwide now utilise mating disruption to control the Codling Moth.

2015 Onwards

Genome editing to delete or insert coding sequences into the genome of any insect.

Identification of new important stimuli used by insect pests with the potential to manipulate the production of these stimuli by plant hosts

Supporting Integrated Pest Management

IPS understand the problems facing growers today and as a company, we aim to offer our customers effective products that complement an Integrated Pest Management plan. Integrated Pest Management utilises a range of chemical, biological and cultural strategies to manage pest outbreaks and semiochemical based products play an important role within this system.

Pheromone monitoring is an essential part of an effective IPM program, allowing growers to detect the presence of a particular pest and accurately time the use of a control strategy. For many pests, pheromone monitoring can also reliably indicate the size of a pest population.