Pheromone mediated mating disruption is a method of controlling insects (moth larvae) populations by prevention of mating and reproduction. Since the immature worm or larva is the stage that damages fruit, prevention of this stage is the goal in any pest management program. Mating disruption uses the same pheromones, or sex attractants, that are present in pheromone traps used for monitoring purposes.
For mating disruption, pheromones are placed in special long-term release dispensers, which in most cases will emit a sufficient level of pheromone for the entire season. Pheromone dispensers are placed throughout the orchard in a manner which saturates the orchard with the pheromone scent. Male insects normally cue in on a plume of pheromone scent emitted by an unmated female. By saturating an area with the same scent, males are prevented from locating the females and mating never takes place.
Use and placement – Mating disruption works only if mated females are prevented from entering the orchard area under treatment, and mating is prevented by any adults that emerge within a treated area. This means that:
- The area(s) under treatment must be a minimum size, usually at least three to five acres. Larger areas under treatment may increase the level of control seen, especially around orchard borders.
- Pheromone dispensers should be placed in the orchard before mating takes place, or ideally before the first adults emerge. There are four full generations of oriental fruit moth in New Jersey, and that the first or overwintering generation usually starts to emerge in late March to early April. If because of pruning or other management practices, early placement is not possible, then insecticides should be used for the first generation, and mating disruption relied upon for generations two through four.
- There is one generation of peachtree borer. Dispensers should be placed by the first week of June during most years.
- Dispensers should be placed throughout the orchard on the outsides of the trees, close to mid-canopy height, or about three to seven feet high, depending on tree age and size.
- Orchards should be monitored with pheromone traps and other scouting procedures.
For Oriental Fruit Moth: Isomate M and Isomate M100 + (Shin Etsu Chemical Co. - Biocontrol Ltd., and Chugai Boyeki America Corp.): Place @ 400 dispensers/acre for Isomate M or 100 dispensers/acre for Isomate M100.
Disrupt OFM (Hercon Environmental): Place @ 108 dispensers/acre.
For Peachtree Borer: Isomate P (Shin Etsu Chemical Co. - Biocontrol Ltd., and Chugai Boyeki America Corp.): Place @ 100 dispensers/acre.
If tree density is significantly in excess of 100-110 trees/acre, then dispenser rate can be increased.
Area-wide Mating Disruption Project
This project is a research/demonstration project, and is part of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Fruit IPM Program. The New Jersey mating disruption project covers over 750 acres in Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Warren, Bergen, Morris, and Mercer Counties.