Science Questions

Could we use pheromones as sprays to keep pests away?

Sun, 16th Oct 2011

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Question

Sarah Castor-Perry asked:

Do you think we would ever see a situation where we use something like the parasitoid wasp attracting pheromones in some kind of spray that you could spray on your plants at home?

Answer

John -  We have the pheromone for the horse chestnut leaf miner.  In fact, I can tell you what it is chemically if you'd really like to know.  Itís EZ 810 tetra-deca-dienal and this wonderful compound. This wonderful compound will attract males because itís actually produced by the female to attract males for mating, and so, you could mess up the way they find each other for that purpose.  But you'd need to do it over a fairly big area of where the horse chestnut trees were, so you'd need to have this disruption of mating in a fairly extensive way.  Otherwise, you'd have to use one of these chemicals which probably are not licensed for commercial use on such ornamental trees as horse chestnut.  Even though they're available for home and garden use, are registered for that purpose specifically on vegetable plants.

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