A chemical lure derived from flowers that are visited by moths attracts male and female alfalfa loopers, Autographa californica (Speyer) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). This feeding attractant is dispensed from polypropylene bottles that provide controlled release for several weeks. A killing station was tested in the laboratory, in a screenhouse, and in the field in combination with this lure as an “attract-and-kill” system. Starved alfalfa looper adults (moths) were strongly attracted to the attract-and-kill station in a flight tunnel, and 90.9% of female moths and 87.6% of male moths that contacted the station died. In commercial fields of alfalfa hay, female moths captured in monitoring traps were reduced by 80–93% in plots receiving 125 attract-and-kill stations per hectare. In screenhouse trials using two attract-and-kill stations per screenhouse, oviposition on potted lettuce plants by starved female alfalfa looper moths was reduced by 98.5%. Moths were less likely to be attracted to lures when provided sugar before flight tunnel assays, and oviposition by fed moths was much less affected by attract-and-kill stations in screenhouse trials, compared with starved moths. This method has potential as a means to manage alfalfa looper populations in vegetable and other agricultural crops. However, consideration must be given to competing food and odor sources in the field.
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Vol. 100 • No. 2