To Ditch Pesticides, Scientists Are Hacking Insects’ Sex Signals

Proving that this way of producing pheromones works, and that they’re effective, has taken almost a decade. “We are now looking at scaling up the process and introducing them in the market,” says Löfstedt. This research also opens the door to using sex disruption to protect other commodity crops from pests. “It should be possible to use the pheromones also in sugarcane and soybean production,” says Löfstedt.

The beauty with pheromones is that they don’t kill insects, but instead just influence their behavior. This makes them more environmentally friendly than pesticides, which often wipe out many species that aren’t the target, explains Srinivasan Ramasamy, a lead entomologist at the nonprofit World

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