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Bug Pheromones – Alternative to Standard Pest Control for Farmers?

July 22nd, 2015

Bug Pheromones – Alternative to Standard Pest Control for Farmers?

Gardeners and farmers alike are always searching for ways to reduce pesticide use.  It’s expensive, sometimes toxic, and adds time to the planting process.  But what’s a dedicated gardener to do when faced with crop-destroying pests?

It turns out that sometimes you can fight fire with fire, or bugs with bugs in this case.  Insect pheromones – the vital chemical that attracts mates – may be the next big thing in natural insecticide.

A pheromone is actually only scent-like, with a very subtle smell, a communication device used by females to attract males.  Much like a little black dress, the pheromone sends a very specific message.

When farmers spray pheromones up into the air, they create a frenzy of miscommunication – males can’t find their females.  No mating equals no baby bugs to crawl over crops.

Pheromones have some obvious advantages – they are non-toxic and therefore easy to handle.  They are consistently effective at reducing the bug population.  And, they can be specifically targeted to one type of insect.

Best of all, because pheromones are so specific, they will kill unwanted bugs while leaving pollinators unscathed.  Bees and butterflies thrive, while leafhoppers and aphids are reduced to just a few lonely and discouraged stragglers.

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