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Gypsy Moth Numbers On The Decline
27/09/06

Exosect Tackle Jersey’s Gypsy Moth Outbreaks By Using Pheromone Based Mating Disruption Technology.

gypsy moth

Exosect, a leading provider of environmentally friendly insect pest control, has used pheromone based mating disruption technology to control Gypsy Moth populations in Jersey. For the second year in succession Exosect have been asked by the States of Jersey Environment Department to trial its Exosex Auto-Confusion system in the Les Creux, St Peter and Noirmont areas of Jersey.

Gypsy Moth caterpillars grow to only 6cm long, but are capable of large-scale deforestation as the population can reach very high densities and feed on a wide range of trees, shrubs and crops. Outbreaks in the UK are a rare occurrence, however, it is essential that systems are in place to combat any known infestations, as Gypsy Moths spreads quickly and can soon become a mass infestation. Female Gypsy Moths lay between 500 and 1000 eggs each per season. The Gypsy Moth caterpillars spread through densely foliated areas by spinning and then hanging from the end of silk strands. The wind then carries them to other trees up to several hundred feet away. Humans are ultimately responsible for much longer distance moves by transporting outdoor household articles which the Gypsy Moths have laid egg masses into.

Entomologist for the States of Jersey Environment Department, Scott Meadows comments, “This is the second year that we have carried out trials with Exosect’s novel mating disruption solution and each time it has shown a high level of success within the treatment zones. The system now needs a real test over a larger area of the island but initial trials have looked promising. We have not experienced any defoliation yet, but our plan is to tackle the issue of Gypsy moth on the Island before serious damage might occur. This is heavily linked to our Department’s aim to reduce pesticide use. We don’t want to get to the point that less specific treatments need to be used”. The work on Jersey was jointly sponsored by Exosect and the States of Jersey Environment Department.

The Exosex Auto-Confusion system uses female Gypsy Moth pheromones, formulated with Exosect’s innovative Entostat powder. The system is ideal for use in highly sensitive environments, where individual communities do not wish to use insecticide spraying.

Managing Director at Exosect, Martin Brown, adds, “The Exosex System is a totally pesticide free alternative to chemical spraying and when used as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) solution is equally as effective. By monitoring Gypsy Moth numbers over the past two years, the States of Jersey Environment Department will now be able to assess the need for future IPM strategies to control this highly destructive pest. The Jersey authorities’ have been very forward thinking in their approach and have provided assistance and field sites so that we can undertake this critical research. If a significant outbreak does ever occur on the island this research will have proved invaluable.”

About Exosect

Exosect Limited was formed in 2001 to commercialise patented innovative pest control technology. Focussing primarily on R&D, Exosect has developed a range of delivery systems based on the concept of attractants and active ingredients, including biologicals, formulated with patented powder carrier systems. Specialising in IPM based, environmentally acceptable pest control products, markets include crop protection (agriculture and horticulture), stored product, amenity landscape and public health. More on Exosect: www.exosect.com

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