Behavioral Chemicals in the Augmentation of Natural Enemies

  • S. Bradleigh Vinson
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 11)


The behavioral manipulation of natural enemies of pest insects has been a long standing dream among the biological control practitioners. Recent work concerning the behavior of some natural enemies of pest insects suggests that this dream may become a practical reality. Wright (1964, 1965) recognized the potential for pest management by the behavioral modification of insects through the use of non-toxic agents that modify the insects’ behavior. As stated by Wright (1965) these chemicals may effect control of a pest by inhibiting a correct response or eliciting an incorrect one. He coined the term “metarchon” for the introduced stimulus which includes chemical repellents and attractants as well as physical factors such as light and sound which interfere with the insects ability to communicate. While much effort is underway to develop methods of manipulating the pest insect, a different approach is needed for the manipulation of natural enemies. Instead of attempting to elicit an incorrect response or inhibit a correct one, the goal of entomophagous insect manipulation is to redirect or stimulate the response. The behavioral modification of certain arthropod enemies of insects through the use of chemicals has opened up new opportunities for the manipulation of these arthropods for the benefit of man. However, such an approach requires a working understanding of the behavior of entomophagous arthropods and the role played by chemicals in their behavioral patterns.


Natural Enemy Gypsy Moth Host Selection Boll Weevil Host Acceptance 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Bradleigh Vinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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