• attract-and-kill;
  • attracticide;
  • insecticide;
  • noctuid moth;
  • plant volatile


We investigated the efficacy of insecticides combined with a plant volatile-based attractant for Helicoverpa armigera moths, under laboratory and field conditions. In the laboratory, 16 insecticides were assessed by the level of mortality and time to incapacitate and kill moths. The proboscis extension reflex technique was used for dosing moths. The pyrethroids, bifenthrin (only when synergised by the addition of piperonyl butoxide (PBO) but not without it) and cyfluthrin (with or without PBO), endosulfan, the carbamates methomyl and thiodicarb, and spinosad killed all moths tested at rates equivalent to, or less than, those which would be applied in cover sprays targeting larvae. The shortest time to moth incapacitation and death was observed with methomyl and thiodicarb. Spinosad produced very high mortality but moths took much longer to die. The two pyrethroids gave relatively slow kills, as did endosulfan. In a field trial, four insecticides were combined with the attractant and dead moths were collected daily from 1 to 4 days after application of the attracticide on 50 m rows of cotton. Significantly more dead moths (H. armigera, H. punctigera and other noctuids) were found near the rows treated with attracticide containing methomyl compared with spinosad, fipronil and deltamethrin. For determining the impact of attracticides by recovering dead moths, quick acting insecticides are required to prevent moths flying away from the treated area to locations where they cannot be found. Methomyl and thiodicarb are suitable for this, but other insecticides especially spinosad could be used where quick action is not needed. Large numbers of moths were killed in the field trial, suggesting that attracticides for female Helicoverpa spp. moths could have significant impacts on local populations of these pests.