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Managing the vine mealybug, Planococcus ficus, through pheromone-mediated mating disruption
- Lucchi, Andrea, Suma, Pompeo, Ladurner, Edith, Iodice, Andrea, Savino, Francesco, Ricciardi, Renato, Cosci, Francesca, Marchesini, Enrico, Conte, Giuseppe, Benelli, Giovanni
- Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.11 pp. 10708-10718
- Planococcus ficus, dispensers, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, insect pests, insecticides, mating disruption, monitoring, sex pheromones, table grapes, vineyards, wine grapes, Italy, Sicily
- The vine mealybug (VMB), Planococcus ficus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), is a key insect pest of vineyards. While pheromone-based mating disruption (MD) has been successfully tested against a wide range of insect pests, knowledge about its efficacy against key mealybug species, such as P. ficus, is scarce. In this study, a novel MD product, Isonet® PF, was evaluated by testing 300, 400, and 500 dispensers/ha at four study sites located in Northern (Veneto) and Southern (Sicily) Italy. Experiments were carried out over 2 years by monitoring the mealybug populations in wine grape and table grape vineyards managed with and without the application of MD. Pheromone dispensers were periodically collected during the grapevine-growing season, extracted, and analyzed by GC-MS, to determine their pheromone content and the release in mg/ha/day. The results showed that use of the MD dispenser Isonet® PF reduced the percentage of VMB-infested bunches and the number of VMB specimens per bunch compared with the untreated controls. This was recorded over 2 years at all experimental sites. Differences in the incidence of infested bunches among the three tested rates of Isonet® PF were not detected. Overall, the results presented here contribute to optimizing the sex pheromone dosage used in MD control programs against VMB allowing a reduction of broad-spectrum insecticides currently employed to manage this important pest.