Fragrant Fix

Smell-Based Pheromones Offer Pesticide-Free Bug Control




Semios, a Vancouver, Canada, provider of real-time agricultural information and precision pest management tools, has been given U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval for the first aerosol pheromone-scent products shown effective in disrupting the mating of the codling moth and oriental fruit moth by attracting males to the females’ scent in spots devoid of mates. Pheromones are natural chemicals that many animals use to communicate within their species.

Unlike pesticides that kill a wide variety of insects, each pheromone targets a single pest species, leaving beneficial pollinators like bees and predators such as ladybugs unconfused and unharmed. One dispenser is hung in each acre and nothing is sprayed directly on the fruit. Pheromones don’t affect any other organisms, including humans, and can be used by both organic and conventional growers.

David Knight, owner of Knight’s Appleden Fruit, Ltd., in Colborne, Ontario, has used the Semios system for two seasons as part of a regulatory trial. He says, “I could see this technology becoming completely mainstream in our industry in the next five or six years.”

Traditional insecticides are expensive to buy and time-consuming and laborintensive to apply. Because they’re toxic, workers can’t enter the orchard for a specified number of days after spraying. Knight adds that fruit growers that rely heavily on pollinators to produce their fruit are also keenly aware of the environmental risk posed by pesticides and welcome a natural and less costly alternative; only tiny amounts are needed.

Kirk Hillier, Ph.D., a biologist at Canada’s Acadia University, in Nova Scotia, who studies how insects communicate with pheromones, confirms that such scents have also been shown to be effective in both controlling a wider variety of agricultural and household pests and monitoring insects destructive to forests.


Source: Canadian Broadcasting Company

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Feeding Healthy Habits

Today’s barrage of junk food ads can easily influence kids for the worse, but 10 strategies, including visiting farmers’ markets, teaching cooking skills and implementing device-free family meals, can help them choose to eat better.

Beyond Sustainability

Farmers are increasingly exploring inexpensive organic methods to return microbial diversity to the soil, which could help mitigate a warming planet by allowing soil to absorb more carbon.

Aysha Akhtar on Our Symphony With Animals

Through her personal story as a survivor of childhood abuse and the stories of others, the neurologist demonstrates the scientific bond between animals and humans—and how they can heal each other.

Take It Easy on the Eggs

Eating three to four eggs a week increases heart disease mortality by 6 percent and all-cause mortality by 8 percent, a new study found.

Savor Cherries to Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Montmorency tart cherries in juice or capsules lower systolic blood pressure and insulin levels within hours, reducing factors that lead to metabolic syndrome.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags