Biotechnological control consists in the utilisation of effective pest control practices, which are sustainable and respectful with the environment. One of these biotechnological techniques is the use of synthetic pheromones that imitate the molecular composition of the sexual hormones of the female of the specie which is going to be controlled.
Implementation of this measure in LIFE AGROintegra project:
Different techniques of biotechnological control have been applied in some of the real scale demonstrations (matting disruption, massive capture…). These techniques have been applied in a lot of different crops: fruit trees (peach tree, apple, tree and pear tree), horticultural crops (tomato, spinach, green beans, broccoli, borage and chard) and vineyard.
This technique consists in placing a great number of traps with an attractive substance and its aim is to capture the largest amount of harmful organisms, reducing its population. This attractive substance could be a pheromone or food bait.
This technique has been applied in LIFE AGROintegra demonstration to decrease the population of species such as: Ceratitis capitata, Autographa gamma, Helicoverpa armigera, Spodoptera exigua, Agrotis segetum, Peridroma saucia and Plutella xylostella.
The different traps used for massive capture are described below:
- Funnel trap: It is a trap prepared to capture lepidoptera (Autographa gamma, Spodoptera exigua, Helicoverpa armígera, Peridroma saucia, Agrotis segetum, etc.). The pheromone attracts males, which once inside the trap, cannot escape. If the attractive is food bait, either males or females can be captured.
Figure 11. Funnel trap for massive capture in peach tree
- Delta trap: It is a trap that allows capturing small lepidoptera (Cydia pomonella, Tuta absoluta, Anarsia lineatella, etc.). The lower part of the trap consists of a gummed cardboard where the pheromone is place. This pheromone attracts insects, which remain glued in the cardboard.
- Chromatic trap: It is a yellow gummed cardboard that attracts insects because of its colour. Sometimes this method is enough to capture pests (physical method), but other times it has to be used with the combination a pheromone in order to increase its attractive power (biotechnical method).
This technique is based on the use of diffusers (figure 12) that disperse synthetic sexual pheromones which are specific for the pest that is going to be controlled. These diffusers are distributed in the plot and release their content gradually. The atmosphere is filled of pheromone so it is very difficult for the male to find the female to mate.
Figure 12. Diffusors for sexual confusion
It is a much extended technique in the control of Cydia pomonella in apple tree, pear tree and walnut tree; Anarsia lineatella and Grapholita molesta in fruit trees and Lobesia botrana in vineyard.
There are some controlled-release diffusers (puffer) that release pheromone periodically in certain moments of the day. This allows saving the quantity of pheromone by releasing it in the moment of pests’ maximum activity (figure 13).
Figure 13. Controlled-release diffusers (puffer) in apple tree