The three key lepidopteran pests of cole, Brassica oleracea L., crops in North America are diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae); cabbage looper; Trichoplusia ni (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae); and imported cabbageworm, Pieris rapae (L.) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). Two species-specific pheromone-based experimental attracticide formulations were evaluated against these pests: LastCall DBM for P. xylostella and LastCall CL for T. ni. No LastCall formulation was available against P. rapae. Laboratory toxicity experiments confirmed the effectiveness of each LastCall formulations in killing conspecific males that made contact. In replicated small plots of cabbage and collards in central Alabama, over four growing seasons (fall 2003, spring 2004, fall 2004, and spring 2005), an attracticide treatment receiving the two LastCall formulations, each applied multiple times at the rate of 1,600 droplets per acre, was compared against Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kursatki (Bt) spray at action threshold and a negative untreated control. Efficacy was measured by comparing among the three treatments male capture in pheromone-baited traps, larval counts in plots, and crop damage rating at harvest. LastCall provided significant reductions in crop damage comparable to Bt in three of the four seasons. Efficacy of LastCall was dependent upon lepidopteran population densities, which fluctuated from season to season. In general, reduction in crop damage was achieved with LastCall at low-to-moderate population densities of the three species, such as typically occurs in the fall in central Alabama, but not in the spring when high P. rapae population pressure typically occurs in central Alabama. Significant reductions in pheromone trap captures did not occur in LastCall plots, suggesting that elimination of males by the toxicant (permethrin), rather than interruption of sexual communication, was the main mechanism of effect.
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