Controlling Insects with Sex

A New Zealand Research Commercialisation Success Story

A partnership between Plant & Food Research and Etec Crop Solutions has provided a path to market for game-changing technologies which essentially control insects using sex.

Sex pheromones, the natural chemicals released by the females of many insect species to attract mates, are being used to both monitor pest populations and disrupt communication between insects.

The partnership between science, industry and manufacturer has enabled the development of fit-for-purpose solution for an industry problem.

Currently around 30% of the New Zealand pipfruit industry is using a mating disruption system, resulting in a total saving on pesticide costs of around $670,000 a year and reducing the pesticide load in the environment, while providing access to Taiwan and other high value markets free of codling moth. Apple Futures is estimated to have preserved up to $113 million of the pipfruit industry’s revenue over the past four years.

Etec and Plant & Food Research’s partnership was a finalist in the 2014 KiwiNet Awards.

Plant & Food Research