Entomology, Department of



John E. Foster

Date of this Version



Published in Crop Protection 31:1 (2012), pp. 50–57; doi: 10.1016/j.cropro.2011.09.008


Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


The millet stem borer, Coniesta ignefusalis Hampson (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), is a major pest of pearl millet in the Sahelian region of Africa. The female sex pheromone has been identified and synthesized, and previous research had shown that the synthetic pheromone could cause high levels of reproductive communication disruption in small plots when released at rates of 640 mg/ha/day, using PVC resin formulation renewed every seven days to maintain efficiency. In the present research, in experiments in farmers’ fields in Niger, 86.8% (SE = 2.6%) communication disruption was achieved when polyethylene vials loaded with 0.5 mg pheromone at 400 dispensers/ha were used and replaced every 21 days. Polyethylene vials loaded with 80 mg pheromone gave uniform, zero–order release at approximately 0.05 mg/day at 27 °C. Experiments carried out on replicated 0.5 ha plots in farmers’ fields in Niger using a single application of these dispensers at 400 dispensers/ha resulted in at least 99% suppression of pheromone trap catches of male C. ignefusalis moths in treated plots relative to numbers in untreated plots for up to 3 months. However, sampling the central portions of these plots before and after harvest showed no significant differences in infestation, damage or yield loss between plots treated with pheromone and untreated plots. This may have been because of small plot size and the immigration of mated female moths into the treated plots which negated any reduction of mating of females within the treated plots. Comparisons of numbers of male C. ignefusalis moths in traps baited with the standard 0.5 mg monitoring lures and those baited with the 80 mg disruption dispensers showed catches in the latter were only 10–20% of those in the former; indicating high level communication disruptions in traps with high dose dispensers. Implications of using insect synthetic pheromones in the development of integrated management of C. ignefusalis in pearl millet cropping systems in the Sahel are discussed.