The moth Tecia (Scrobipalpopsis) solanivora Povolny (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) is the most important pest of potato, Solanum spp., in Central America and adjacent South American countries. Insecticide treatments are not sufficiently effective; therefore, we investigated the feasibility of pheromone-mediated mating disruption for control of T. solanivora. Pheromone dispensers were formulated with 70 mg of the three sex pheromone compounds (E)-3-dodecenyl acetate, (Z)-3-dodecenyl acetate, and dodecyl acetate, in a ratio of 100:56:100, respectively. Male attraction to these compounds is optimal at a ratio of 100:1:20, thus the mating disruption dispensers contained an off-blend, which attracted only a few males. Nonetheless, one mating disruption dispenser suppressed male attraction to calling females in a flight tunnel and reduced male activation in response to female pheromone. Communication disruption is accordingly due to camouflage of the female signal and possibly due to a reduction of male responsiveness by sensory imbalance. Only a few males were observed in a 3-ha potato field treated with 84 g pheromone/ha, compared with an untreated control field. During 2 mo, male attraction to traps baited with calling females or synthetic pheromone was strongly reduced. This reduction confirms the potential of mating disruption for management of T. solanivora. The efficacy of the pheromone treatment can be further improved by earlier dispenser application, by increased dispenser load, and by treatment of larger fields to reduce immigration of mated females.
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