The scientists don't know why color makes a difference, but they will pursue that question in future studies, Reddy said, noting that insects use chromatic cues to identify colors. In the meantime, he has already started testing different colored traps in Montana.
Montana doesn't grow sweet-potatoes and its insects are different from those found in Guam, but the technology to trap them is the same, said Reddy who came to MSU from Guam in June 2012.
Sweet-potatoes are a six-month crop grown in the southern United States, Guam, Hawaii, China and many other areas of the world. The sweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius, is one of the most serious insects causing damage to sweet-potatoes in the world, Reddy and Gadi said in their newly published paper. They added that without proper and effective control, weevil populations are likely to cause a huge or complete loss of sweetpotato production in sweetpotato growing areas.
Crop damage can range from 30 to 40 percent in the United States to 60 or 70 percent in Guam, to 70 to 100 percent in some African countries, such as Uganda and Nigeria, Reddy said.
"Consequently, there is an urgent need for development of eco-friendly control methods for this weevil," Reddy and Gadi wrote in their paper. "Although some control methods are effective, toxic pesticides applications are detrimental and damaging to our environment. Although pheromone traps are currently being used, no effective control of this weevil was achieved."
|Contact: Evelyn Boswell|
Montana State University