Mating disruption (MD) has been a successful approach for pest control of several lepidoptera. Field trials to evaluate the efficacy of communication disruption of low pheromone load formulation on Thaumetopoea pityocampa were carried out in 2010 and 2011 in an urban park. The efficacy of MD was assessed by comparing male T. pityocampa catches in pheromone traps, between MD and Control areas. In the 1st year of the application the percentage of male inhibition ranged from 85 to 100% during the 1st month of the flight period and 95-100% during the whole flight period in the 2nd year. The pheromone remained in the polymeric matrix was almost 30% after 7 weeks under laboratory aging conditions. Combining the pheromone release results with the male disorientation results we can assume that after 7 weeks the remaining pheromone concentration was still sufficient to achieve MD. This study indicates that air permeation with the major sex pheromone component (Z)-13-hexadecen-11-ynyl acetate, at a rate of 20 g/ha for one application per season, can affect the orientation of T. pityocampa males. Since mating disruption is an environmentally safe method for pest control, it could be a valuable tool to control T. pityocampa in urban areas and parks.
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