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Role of Phermones and Kairmones for Insect Suppression Systems and Their Possible Health and Environmental Impacts

E. F. Knipling
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 14 (Apr., 1976), pp. 145-152
DOI: 10.2307/3428372
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3428372
Page Count: 8
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Role of Phermones and Kairmones for Insect Suppression Systems and Their Possible Health and Environmental Impacts
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Abstract

Insects produce pheromones as a chemical communication system to facilitate reproduction. These highly active chemical attractants have been synthesized for some of the most important insect pests, including the boll weevil, gypsy moth, codling moth, tobacco budworm, European corn borer, and several bark beetles. While none of the synthetic sex attractants have yet been developed for use in insect control, they offer opportunities for the future both as control agents and to greatly improved insect detection. Investigations are underway on insect trapping systems employing the phermones and on air permeation techniques to disrupt insect reproduction. The pheromones are generally highly species-specific and are not likely to pose hazards to nontarget organisms in the environment. Toxicological studies indicate that they are low in toxicity to mammals, birds, and fish, but adequate toxicological data are necessary before they can be registered for use in insect control. Another new class of compounds called kaironomes has been discovered. These chemicals are involved in the detection of hosts or prey by insect parasites and predators. Kairomones may prove useful in manipulating natural or released biological agents for more effective biological control of insect pests. No information is yet available on the toxicology of these chemicals.

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