, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 71-83
Date: 04 Jan 2014

Further Studies on Sex Pheromones of Female Lygus and Related Bugs: Development of Effective Lures and Investigation of Species-Specificity

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Mirid bugs (Heteroptera: Miridae) are important pests of many crops worldwide. In previous work by others and ourselves, several species of Lygus bugs were shown to produce blends of three compounds, hexyl butyrate, (E)-2-hexenyl butyrate, and (E)-4-oxo-2-hexenal. These have been proposed as components of the female-produced sex pheromones, but attraction of males to synthetic lures has been difficult to demonstrate. We studied the volatiles released by females of four species: Lygus rugulipennis, Lygus pratensis, Lygocoris pabulinus, and Liocoris tripustulatus. Analyses of volatiles from individual, undisturbed insects showed that the three compounds were produced in species-specific blends, by females only, or in greater quantities by females than by males. The three compounds were loaded into pipette tips, which released the defined blends over at least 30 days. Traps baited with the blend for L. rugulipennis caught more males than traps baited with virgin females, with all three compounds required for maximum attractiveness. Traps baited with the specific blends for each of the four species caught males of three of the species, indicating considerable cross-attraction. There is evidence that other, non-chemical factors, such as time-of-day of production of pheromone, contribute to species-specificity of attraction. This is the first report of consistent attraction of Lygus bugs to synthetic lures in the field.