The Smells and Sounds of a Subterranean Sessid: Mating disruption and acoustic detection of grape root borer

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2009: $9,434.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Grant Recipient: University of Florida
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Oscar Liburd
University of Florida

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Crop Production: application rate management
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Pest Management: cultural control, integrated pest management, mating disruption
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, permaculture
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Abstract: The grape root borer is a destructive subterranean pest of grapes in Eastern US, but is especially harmful in the southeast. It is the key pest of grapes in Florida and Georgia and a considerable problem in North and South Carolina. Currently, the only financially viable control method available to growers is the soil drench Lorsban 4E, a formulation of a dangerous organophosphate. This study examines two alternative control methods; a cultural control, mounding, and mating disruption. Mounding involves piling dirt over likely larval pupation sites effectively smothering the pest. Currently, mounding must currently be blindly applied to every plant in the vineyard to be successful. Mounding is therefore too cost prohibitive to be attractive to growers. This study examines the possibility of focusing the expensive practice only on infested plants using acoustic detection to determine the infestation level of a plant before treatment. This may eliminate the cost disincentive to adopting this sustainable practice. Mating disruption involves the dispersal of a pheromone throughout the growing area to prevent pests, typically lepidopterans, from finding mates resulting in low reproductive success and a declining population. Mating disruption has proved to be a useful alternative to chemical controls with other lepidopteran pests in grapes.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1) To evaluate the potential of acoustic detection of GRB larvae in the root system of grape plants in a field setting.
    2) To evaluate the potential of mating disruption of GRB using both components of its sex pheromone (99:1) (E,Z)-2,13-octadecadienyl acetate:(Z, Z)-3,13-octadecadienyl and just the main component, (E,Z)-2,13-octadecadienyl acetate
    a. Determine the lowest effective pheromone dispenser density
    b. Determine which pheromone blend is more effective
    c. Determine release rate of new paraffin wax dispenser technology
    3) To collaborate with growers, extension agents and other agricultural researcher to generate and distribute new information on GRB control

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.