Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pheromones and Other Attractants

Substances naturally produced by insects to attract others of their own kind are known as pheromones. They are often used in traps to aid in controlling pest species. Most pheromones are highly specific, attracting only one species or a group of closely related species. “Spanish Fly” (cantharidin) has recently come into use as an extremely effective attractant for various beetles, such as pedilids, and bugs, such as bryocerines. Female specimens of certain insects, such as cicadas and silkworm moths, may be placed alive in a trap and used as a bait with their pheromones and the sounds they produce attracting males. Female saturniids (silkworm moth) may be used to attract males which may come from great distances. The pheromones of sesiid moths are commercially available and can be attached to the collector's net or hung over a dish with ethylene glycol.

Host animals likewise may be used as bait for various bloodsucking insects, with or without constructed traps. Carbon dioxide in the form of “Dry Ice,” cylinder gas, or marble chips treated with an acid such as vinegar serves as an attractant for certain insects and has been very successful in attracting horse flies to Malaise and Manitoba traps.

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