Challenges of pheromone-based mating disruption of Cydia strobilella and Dioryctria abietella in spruce seed orchards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Seed orchards function as the primary source of high-quality seeds for reforestation in many European countries, but their seed yields can be severely reduced due to seed- and cone-feeding insects. We evaluated various parameters of pheromone-based mating disruption for control of the moths Cydia strobilella and Dioryctria abietella, which are major pests in European Picea abies seed orchards. We applied different types of pheromone dispensers (rubber septa or wax droplets) at different densities and heights, and with different amounts of active components, covering whole orchards or part of an orchard. The efficacy of the treatment was evaluated by analysing male captures in pheromone-baited assessment traps, and presence of larvae in cones. A dramatic decrease (94–100%) in capture of males in traps occurred in all pheromone-treated plots compared to control plots for both moth species. In contrast, a subsequent reduction in larval numbers in cones was only achieved when wax droplets were used as the dispensing formulation at high density and at the highest pheromone dose tested, and only in half of the trials for each pest species. Electrophysiological recordings using antennae of male C. strobilella indicated elevated pheromone concentrations in a treated plot versus a control plot. Our results show that mating disruption has potential to reduce cone damage in spruce seed orchards caused by C. strobilella and D. abietella, but optimisation of the technique is required to achieve consistent and efficient population suppression of these pests.


External organisations
  • University of Tartu
  • Forestry Research Institute of Sweden (SkogForsk)
  • University of Waterloo
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Forest Science
  • Zoology


  • Cone damage, Lepidoptera, Pest management, Picea, SPLAT, Mating distruption
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639–650
JournalJournal of Pest Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar 1
Publication categoryResearch

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