Potential of “Lure and Kill” in Long-Term Pest Management and Eradication of Invasive Species

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“Lure and kill” technology has been used for several decades in pest management and eradication of invasive species. In lure and kill, the insect pest attracted by a semiochemical lure is not “entrapped” at the source of the attractant as in mass trapping, but instead the insect is subjected to a killing agent, which eliminates affected individuals from the population after a short period. In past decades, a growing scientific literature has been published on this concept. This article provides the first review on the potential of lure and kill in long-term pest management and eradication of invasive species. We present a summary of lure and kill, either when used as a stand-alone control method or in combination with other methods. We discuss its efficacy in comparison with other control methods. Several case studies in which lure and kill has been used with the aims of long-term pest management (e.g., pink bollworm, Egyptian cotton leafworm, codling moth, apple maggot, biting flies, and bark beetles) or the eradication of invasive species (e.g., tephritid fruit flies and boll weevils) are provided. Subsequently, we identify essential knowledge required for successful lure and kill programs that include lure competitiveness with natural odor source; lure density; lure formulation and release rate; pest population density and risk of immigration; and biology and ecology of the target species. The risks associated with lure and kill, especially when used in the eradication programs, are highlighted. We comment on the cost-effectiveness of this technology and its strengths and weaknesses, and list key reasons for success and failure. We conclude that lure and kill can be highly effective in controlling small, low-density, isolated populations, and thus it has the potential to add value to long-term pest management. In the eradication of invasive species, lure and kill offers a major advantage in effectiveness by its being inverse density dependent and it provides some improvements in efficacy over related control methods. However, the inclusion of insecticides or sterilants in lure and kill formulations presents a major obstacle to public acceptance.

Keywords: attract and kill; attracticides; lure and kill; pheromones; semiochemicals

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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