Mass promotion of pheromone lures as "quick fix" and "feel good factor" to untrained farmers using inefficient trap can be counterproductive and it could harm the credibility of pheromones as a key component in the future strategies to manage Tuta absolut
During the Phytoferti, the agrochemical inter professional meeting in Algiers 14-15 November 2009, Dr Shakir Al-Zaidi, Russell IPM Ltd , UK addressed the meeting on the Topic of Tuta absoluta in the Mederanean . He reviewed the efforts in the identification as well as the management efforts against this serious pest and in particular the role of pheromones. While the efforts of some countries were praised, he warned against the arbitrary mass promotion of the Tuta absoluta pheromones to untrained farmers and advisers as a "feel good factor" and as a "political quick fix" to show farmers that something is being done. This type of approach will be short lived and will impact on the long term credibility of pheromones as a part of the strategy to manage Absoluta in the coming years.
Dr Al-Zaidi also pointed out to the trend of using Pheromone as a measure of control by mass trapping. He targeted the trend to increase dosing level of the pheromone dispensers which is accelerating in the quest for a more effective mass trapping product. While the pheromone lure dosing level was the focus, little work was made to study the factors influencing trap capture and match trap effectiveness with that of the increased lure attraction. Recent trials made Morocco revealed that factors effecting water trap design can influence trap capture significantly to the point it raises concerns that the use of super dosed lures in combination with inefficient traps will attract insects far more than what the trap can cope with leading to an increase in insect population in the trap zone and potential increase in insect damage in that zone. Such damage will impact the farmer's attitude toward pheromones and consequently will impact its future use as a management measure.