Arturo Cocco, Andrea Lentini, Giuseppe Serra
Journal of Insect Science 14 (144), 1-8, (15 October 2014) https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/ieu006
KEYWORDS: sex pheromone, age population structure, population density, sexual communication, pest control
Mating disruption field experiments to control the vine mealybug, Planococcus ficus (Signoret) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), were carried out in 2008 and 2009 in two commercial vineyards in Sardinia (Italy). The effectiveness of mating disruption was evaluated by testing reservoir dispensers loaded with 100 mg (62.5 g/ha) and 150 mg (93.8 g/ha) of the sex pheromone in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The number of males captured in pheromone traps, the P. ficus population density and age structure, the parasitism rate, the percentage of ovipositing females, and the crop damage were compared between disrupted and untreated plots. In both field trials, the number of males captured in mating disruption plots was significantly reduced by 86% and 95%, respectively. Mating disruption at the initial dose of 62.5 g/ha of active ingredient gave inconclusive results, whereas the dose of 93.8 g/ha significantly lowered the mealybug density and modified the age structure, which showed a lower percentage of ovipositing females and a higher proportion of preovipositing females. Mating disruption did not affect negatively the parasitism rate, which was higher in the disrupted than in the control plots (> 1.5-fold). Crop damage at harvest was very low in both field trials and did not differ between treatments. Mating disruption was effective in wide plots protected with dispensers loaded with 150 mg of the sex pheromone, showing its potential to be included in the overall integrated control programs in Mediterranean wine-growing regions.