Development of a female attractant for the click beetle pest Agriotes brevis




Traps suitable for catching female Agriotes click beetles may provide better reconnaissance than pheromone-baited traps which catch only males, thereby contributing to more efficient crop protection. The basis for this study came from (i) observations of female Agriotes brevis (Candeze) aggregating beneath foliage of Medicago sativa (L.) and Lolium italicum (A. Br.) placed on plastic sheets on bare soil, and (ii) field tests demonstrating attraction of females to traps baited with foliage from these plants. The aim was to identify and field test volatile compounds from M. sativa and L. italicum leaves.


A number of electrophysiologically active chemicals were identified from headspace extracts of M. sativa and L. italicum. Three different synthetic blends of the identified compounds, comprising four, seven and nine components, were field tested. The four- and nine-component blends caught more female A. brevis than unbaited traps, with the proportion of females not differing between blends.


The plant-derived blends were shown to catch female A. brevis under field conditions when applied in traps. Of these, the four-component blend, given its relatively simple composition [(Z)-3-hexenyl acetate:methyl benzoate:(Z)-3-hexen-1-ol:methyl salicylate 300:5:30:30 mg bait−1], may be a suitable ‘standard’ blend for bait optimisation. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry