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Biological control of the olive fly using nano-capsulation of the sex pheromone

Dr. Jallal Gnaim  

The olive tree is regarded as being of significant socio-economic importance in the Mediterranean basin which has 98% of the world's cultivated olive trees. The losses, cause in this crop by insect pests, fungi and weeds are as high as 30% of production. The predominant method of insect pest control has been through the use of conventional pesticides however, such methods been questioned in recent years especially by environmentalists. It has long been known that the olive fly uses a sex pheromone as part of its mating behaviour. A sex pheromone released by virgin females attracts males.

In the current project we have studied various strategies involving pheromone (i.e., mass trapping, lure and kill and mating disruption) for the development of integrated pest management strategies for the olive fly. A stable and slow released formulation of the olive fly sex pheromone was developed and the product was tested in the field conditions, showed very promising results.