We evaluated volatile organic compounds and colors for attractancy to adult lovebugs, Plecia nearctica Hardy, under field conditions in central and southern Florida. In olfactory tests, sticky traps placed at 10 m intervals (1 m height) and baited with the floral compound phenylacetaldehyde (PAA), essential oil anethole and anisaldehyde were highly attractive to both sexes of lovebugs during spring and fall flights. However, PAA was superior, capturing at least 3 times as many lovebugs in direct comparisons. Methyl salicylate, eugenol and benzaldehyde were weak attractants, whereas geraniol and citrus oil were not attractive. Heptaldehyde, 1-phenylethanol and acetophenone also were not attractive in tests that included PAA. In visual studies with unbaited sticky traps, lovebugs were most attracted to different hues of yellow and white at both high population densities (spring flight) and low population densities (fall flight). There was little statistical difference among the remaining colors (green, blue, red and black), although black traps were consistently the least attractive. We hypothesize that attraction shown in our studies is related to feeding behavior in this insect.
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