We don’t have to wipe out pests to control them – we simply have to prevent them from reproducing
Mating disruption is a simple yet elegant pest control method based on the use of insect sex pheromones. These signalling molecules are the perfumes of the insect world. Undetectable to us, they are released by female insects, in particular moths, to attract a male. The sex pheromones create a perfume plume for the male to follow to the female’s location.
If we spray insect pheromones in a field, the male thinks it smells like females everywhere, preventing him from locating the actual female – their mating is disrupted. No mating means no eggs and no plant-eating larvae.
The method is well-established in specialty crops like grapes and apples, where it has proven excellent at increasing productivity in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Until now, however, the challenge has been to scale up the production of pheromones to a level viable for use in field crops such as corn and rice – the crops that really matter in terms of food security and environmental footprint. This is the challenge that BioPhero has solved.