Canadian Forest Service Publications

Use of a Sprayable Sex Pheromone Formulation in Landscape-Level Control of Choristoneura fumiferana Populations. 2022. Roscoe, L.E.; MacKinnon, W.; Régnière J.; Forbes, G.; Brophy, M.; Lamb, R. Insects. 13(12): 1175.

Year: 2022

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40961

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.3390/insects13121175

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Choristoneura fumiferana (SBW) is a major defoliating pest of balsam fir and spruce in eastern North America. As part of an integrated management strategy for SBW, we evaluated the effectiveness of mating disruption as a landscape-level population control tactic. Using a sprayable formulation (CONFOUNDSBW) containing a synthetic sex pheromone blend, we treated five 300 ha blocks in Northern New Brunswick with an aerially applied microencapsulated mixture. There were significant reductions in adult trap catches in treated blocks compared to untreated control blocks. Branch sampling in treated blocks showed uniform distribution of CONFOUNDSBW deposition throughout the blocks. Population densities following treatment were not significantly affected when compared to densities in control blocks, or prior to treatment. Analysis of egg:adult ratios indicates that no immigration events occurred within treatment or control blocks. The lack of population reduction following treatment strongly suggests that widespread application of CONFOUNDSBW at a rate of 50 g of active ingredient per hectare is not an effective tool in controlling SBW populations.

Plain Language Summary

Spruce budworm is a major defoliator of conifers in Atlantic Canada. Various landscape-level population controls that target spruce budworm exist. One that has been studied in the past is the application of spruce budworm pheromones to affected areas, with the principal being that high amounts of pheromone in the air will disrupt mating and subsequent egg laying. Several application methods have been studied, but none have been effective. Here, we conducted a mating disruption study that utilized a new microencapsulated formulation that targeted the areas of the environment where adult spruce budworm are most often found. As well, we sought to conduct a replicated study over large areas, both attributes that were not possible in previous mating disruption trials. While applications reduced trap catches, and were consistently found in the treated areas, population densities were not significantly affected. We conclude that this pheromone formulation when applied according to the label directions is not effective in landscape-level treatment of spruce budworm populations. This study provides important evidence to the effectiveness of mating disruption against spruce budworm, and will inform forest practitioners on the usefulness of this method in managing future spruce budworm outbreaks.