Pheromones and Kairomones are chemicals that insects use to communicate with each other. Scientists have figured out how to copy some of the chemicals to turn around use against the pests.
In tree nut facilities we utilize two types of pheromone technology; monitors (traps) and mating disruption.
Moth and beetle monitoring devices attract and capture specific species of insects. They do not control pests, only allow us to capture a small percentage of the population. The devices give us an idea of what the population size is, whether its stable, increasing or decreasing.
This data allows us to measure whether our preventive strategies are effective or if additional efforts are needed. When a treatment is performed, we use it to measure effectiveness.
Mating disruption is an amazing newer technology that has revolutionized stored product moth prevention. Unfortunately, due to biology, it is effective against only certain pest species. Essentially, it disrupts the ability for males and females from finding each other and mating.
These tools, when utilized correctly and coupled with a comprehensive plan, will make or break a program.
Battling pests on the front line is what we do every day to protect the world’s tree nut supply, and we are proud to play our small role.