Semiochemical based pest management of coconut red palm weevil, Rhynchophorous ferrugineus (Dryophthoridae: Coleoptera).
Red palm weevil (RPW) has been a devastating pest of the palms. Originally a pest of coconut palm in India, it has spread across to various hosts. Mortality caused to host by its damage has caused RPW to gain pest of national interest in many countries. With limited success attained using the current management practices that includes mechanical and chemical control methods, semiochemicals are gaining popularity by growers mainly due to desirable outcome and being eco-friendly in the pest management. R. ferrugineus weevils are attracted to early fermentation volatiles feeding on which they produce aggregation pheromone attracting their conspecifics. Use of pheromone in isolation has limited success in field, use of food baits in tandem with pheromone strongly enhances the attraction of the weevil. Use of food bait as such in traps needs frequent servicing and this is overcome by identifying the blends derived from food bait and using them in lieu of food baits as such will reduce the need to servicing of traps at frequent intervals. The efficacy of semiochemicals is enhanced by identifying the nanomatrix for controlled delivery that would aid in better spatio temporal release there by increasing the field life of the lure over the conventional polymer-based dispensers. Synergism to pheromone by the volatiles emanating from palm tissues and food bait coupled with improved delivery matrix will scaleup the use of pheromone by farmers there by reducing the dependence on chemical insecticides for RPW management.
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