With or without pheromone habituation: possible differences between insect orders?

David Maxwell Suckling, Lloyd D. Stringer, Alfredo Jiménez-Pérez, Gimme H. Walter, Nicola Sullivan, Ashraf M. El-Sayed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


© 2017 Society of Chemical Industry BACKGROUND: Habituation to sex pheromones is one of the key mechanisms in mating disruption, an insect control tactic. Male moths often show reduced sexual response after pre-exposure to female sex pheromone. Mating disruption is relatively rare in insect orders other than Lepidoptera. RESULTS: As a positive control we confirmed habituation in a moth (Epiphyas postvittana) using 24 h pre-exposure to sex pheromone to reduce subsequent activation behaviour. We then tested the impact of pre-exposure to sex or trail pheromone on subsequent behavioural response with insects from three other orders. Similar pre-exposure for 24 h to either sex pheromone [Pseudococcus calceolariae (Homoptera) and apple leaf curling midge Dasineura mali (Diptera), or trail pheromone of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile (Hymenoptera)], followed by behavioural assay in clean air provided no evidence of habituation after pre-exposure in these latter cases. CONCLUSIONS: The moths alone were affected by pre-exposure to pheromone. For pests without habituation, sustained attraction to a point source may make lure and kill more economical. Improved knowledge of behavioural processes should lead to better success in pest management and mechanisms should be investigated further to inform studies and practical efforts generally enhancing effectiveness of pheromone-based management. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1259-1264
Number of pages1132
JournalPest Management Science
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


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