Plant selection for the establishment of push-pull strategies for Zea mays-Spodoptera frugiperda pathosystem in Morelos, Mexico.
Regulations imposed on the use of chemical insecticides call for the development of environmental-friendly pest management strategies. One of the most effective strategies is the push-pull system, which takes advantage of the behavioral response of the insect to the integration of repellent stimuli; it expels the pest out of the main crop (push), while attracting stimuli (attractants) pull the pest to an alternative crop or trap (pull). The objective of this study was to design a push-pull system to control Spodoptera frugiperda in maize crops (Zea mays) in Morelos, Mexico. Data on reproductive potential, larvae development, food consumption and olfactometry were used to obtain a Trap Plant Selection Index (TRAPS) based on Principal Component Analysis. This TRAPS was used to select the most suitable plants. The degree of repellency of potential plants to be used as the trap crop was studied with four-way olfactometers. S. frugiperda females oviposited more eggs on Brachiaria hybrid cv. Mulato II, Panicum maximum cv. Mombasa and Panicum maximum cv. Tanzania than on Z. mays, regardless of the fact that these plants delayed the development of their offspring. Dysphania ambrosioides, Tagetes erecta and Crotalaria juncea were less attractive to S. frugiperda females. Therefore, the former plants could be used as crop traps, and the latter as intercropped repellent plants in a push-pull system.