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Pheromones for managing insects in spruce seed orchards

Wood production has a large socioeconomic role in Sweden and will also be important for the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere in the future. Seed orchards serve an important role for the production of high-quality seeds and thus in the generation of new forests. However, insects are chronic pests and cause great losses in seed production.

This project aims at identifying the sex pheromones of the three major moth pests to be used for monitoring of their phenology, dispersal and population density in orchards. We have investigated the potential for pheromone-mediated mating disruption.

We have identified and published the pheromones for all three major pest species; Dioryctria abietella, Cydia strobilella and Eupithecia abietaria, (see publications).

Monitoring baits have been tested in the Nordic countries and the rest of Europe to optimize protocols for moth monitoring in seed orchards by use of attractive traps. We are currently evaluating different dispensing systems to optimise pheromone-based mating disruption of D. abietella and C. strobilell. Orchard managers should be able to use the traps without species identification problems. The research results will serve as basis for an IPM program.

The pheromone investigations have been complemented by studies on the role of plant volatiles and colours for oviposition in the moth species.


Download and watch a movie clip from Swedish Television (Sydnytt) about the project (in Swedish)

With Olle Anderbrant and Christer Löfstedt. (Reporter, photographer and editor: Bernard Mikulic, SVT)

Spruce seed orchard
Spruce seed orchard at Maglehem, Scania. Observe that the tree-tops are cut to make cone collection easier. Photo: Erling Jirle
Photo gallery with more pictures from our field sites, spruce seed orchards in Scania and Blekinge, southern Sweden.
Presentation in Swedish of the project (Presentation på svenska, på SkogForsks hemsida)

Recent publications

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Cone heavily attaced by Spruce Coneworm
Norway spruce cones heavily attacked by Spruce Coneworm, Dioryctria abietella. Photo: Erling Jirle.


Olle Rosenberg, SkogForsk, Uppsala