Assessment of synthetic chemicals for disruption of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus response to attractant-baited traps in an urban environment.
The red palm weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier (Coleoptera, Curculionidae), is one of the most severe pests of ornamental palm species in urban areas of Mediterranean countries. Aiming to discover inhibitory semiochemicals for RPW population management in urban environments, we conducted electroantennographic (EAG) screenings of 17 commercially available synthetic compounds, representing three groups of plant volatiles (isoprenoids, phenyl propanoid derivatives and fatty acid derivatives) known for their repellent effects toward insects. These tests were followed by trap-based screenings of EAG-active menthone, α-pinene and methyl salicylate, singly and in combination, under urban conditions. In EAG bioassays, RPW antennae of both sexes showed positive dose-dependent responses to 13 of the 17 synthetic chemicals with significant differences among them. In field trapping experiments, conducted in the city of Palermo, Italy, from weeks 31 to 38 in 2010 and 2011, α-pinene, tested singly or in combination with methyl salicylate (2010) or menthone (2011), reduced trap catches by about 30% to 40%. Methyl salicylate and menthone alone were inactive. In conclusion, RPW is significantly affected by α-pinene. This isoprenoid is a promising disruptant for semiochemical-based management of this pest. In addition, identification of a large number of EAG-active chemicals could serve as a database for future design of active repellents or attractants of RPW adults.