Understanding Pheromones

Using Pheromones to Safely Control Pest Populations

Pheromones are chemicals used to communicate information to the same species. Pheromones are classified according to their function such as sex, aggregation, alarm, overpopulation, trail, and recruitment. Pheromones can be used for mating disruption (MD) monitoring (lures in traps) and in combination with lower doses of pesticides to lure (attract) and kill (A&K). The goal for BedoukianBio pheromone and biological pest management solutions is to suppress and control pest populations while minimizing risks to humans and the environment.

Conventional Insect Control Limitations

In contrast to pheromones, conventional insect control typically involves using pesticides or insecticides that are often sprayed over large areas. These pesticide sprays, unfortunately, can have a negative impact on much more than just the pest populations they are meant to control. Pesticides can impact human health and may leave residues on the environment or on crops.  Many types of pesticides do not distinguish between target and non-target species and may negatively affect beneficial pollinators, birds, mammals, and aquatic animals. Some conventional pesticides can potentially have long-term negative impacts by contaminating soil, surface water, and groundwater — negatively affecting biological communities in soil and aquatic systems.  

Benefits of Pheromones

There are many benefits to using pheromones to sustainably control pest populations. These include:

  • Pheromones have low toxicity posing fewer risks to humans, pets, and the environment.  Pheromones are approved for use in organic crop production.
  • Pheromones are typically applied in small quantities and are highly volatile – leaving little or no residue on crops.
  • Pheromones are species-specific – they only affect the target pests.
  • Pheromones are proactive – they allow for the pest population to be controlled before it is a problem.
  • Pheromones have minimal impact on soil & water systems.
  • Pheromones have a moderate to long field presence with little risk of pests developing resistance.
  • Pheromones can be used right up until harvest and are not subject to preharvest intervals or restricted-entry intervals.

Pheromone Application Methods

There are a number of ways to utilize pheromones in agricultural environments. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Passive dispensers: devices that release pheromones, usually deployed at a high density of point sources (twist ties, pouches, polymers, plastic reservoirs).
  • Active dispensers: battery-powered devices that release pheromones from pressurized aerosol cans and are deployed at a low density of point sources.
  • Sprayable/Flowable formulations: a liquid form that can be applied through drones, airplanes, tractors, or other mechanical ground applicators.

Each of these application methods enables BedoukianBio’s pheromones to sustainably control pest populations.