Biotech Updates

Invasive Nettle Moth Triggers Hawaii Research

November 20, 2009

A technique called "mobile mating disruption" is going to be tested to control nettle moth. Caterpillars of the nettle moth, Darna pallivitta have sharp, spiky hairs that cause a painful, stinging sensation in humans and also infest palm and ornamentals plants. Eric Jang of the US Pacific Basin Agricultural Center in Hilo, Hawaii will use sterilized fruit flies such as melon flies, as winged carriers of an alluring nettle moth scent, a component of a pheromone. "Once they are set in Hawaii, the melon flies would create confusion among amorous male moths that use the scent to find female moths. The pheromone component can also be placed in traps to detect the caterpillar and monitor its spread," Jang noted.

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