Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



The affluent countries of the world have been concerned for generations about the eradication of economic pests. In their continuing search for ways to increase the percentage of harvestable crops, to reduce structural damage done to their shelters and places of business, and to limit disease they have relied in the past on the extensive use of pesticides. Insects are one of man’s primary ecological competitors and the weapons that he uses against them, if not chosen wisely, may contribute more to the destruction of his paradise than his weapons of war. It is now common knowledge that the indiscriminate use of insecticides has compromised ecological balance and driven at least some species to the brink of extinction. Insecticides can cause death through direct poisoning, alteration of the chemistry of reproduction, concentration in food chains and, perhaps, modification of the genetic information necessary for the survival of a species. Many insecticides are not biodegradable and destroy parasites, predators and pollinators with minimum selectivity. The resurgence of pest populations with a new resistance to specific insecticides is a common phenomenon. The saturation of large areas with high concentrations of toxic chemicals becomes a less attractive method of insect population control when the results of this practice are considered. A new and promising approach to pest control is the use of naturally occurring compounds that elicit chemosensory insect behavior. The isolation, identification and synthesis of pheromones that can lure insects into traps where they can be eradicated efficiently and with minimum pollution is an expanding field of investigation. The sex pheromones present during insect courtship have been to be potent and selective lures.

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South Dakota State University