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RESEARCH:  3. Mating Distruption Technologies


In New Jersey, the oriental beetle has become the most important white grub species infesting
blueberries, killing entire sections of fields if uncontrolled.  Permeating the air with the sex pheromone may disrupt oriental beetle communication between opposite sexes.  Mating disruption is an environmentally friendly and selective control strategy that can be implemented into current pest management programs in blueberries for oriental beetle control. 

Dr. S. Polavarapu (my predecessor at the Marucci Center) demonstrated in field trials the feasibility of oriental beetle mating suppression using a sprayable formulation of the sex pheromone.  Sprayable formulations of the oriental beetle pheromone, being a ketone, do not qualify for EPA tolerance exemptions on food crops unlike formulations using other arthropod pheromones containing acetate, alcohol, and aldehyde moieties.  Alternatively, arthropod pheromones formulated in retrievable polymeric dispensers have been granted tolerance exemption for use on food crops. 

My team is conducting on-farm demonstrations to assess the effectiveness of low, marketable-comparable, pheromone rates using retrievable dispensers for oriental beetle mating disruption. We are also studying oriental beetle behavior.

Current Collaborators

 - Dean Polk (Rutgers University)
 - Jan Meneley (Ag Bio Inc.)
 - Agenor Mafra-Neto (ISCA Technologies)

Relevant Publications

Rodriguez-Saona, C., Polk, D., Holdcraft, R., Chinnasamy, D., and Mafra-Neto, A. 2010.  SPLAT-OB reveals competitive attraction as a mechanism of mating disruption in oriental beetle. Environ. Entomol. 39: 1980-1989.

Rodriguez-Saona, C., Polk, D.F., and Barry, J.D. 2009. Optimization of pheromone rates for effective mating disruption of oriental beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in commercial blueberries. J. Econ. Entomol. 102: 659-669.


for mating disruption
Adult Oriental Beetle

for mating disruption
Retrievable pheromone dispensers

mating disuption measured by trap shutdown
Mating disruption is measured by trap shutdown

female ages used to assess mating success
Female cages are used to
mating success