The northern tamarisk beetle Diorhabda carinulata (Desbrochers) was approved for release in the United States for classical biological control of a complex of invasive saltcedar species and their hybrids (Tamarix spp.). An aggregation pheromone used by D. carinulata to locate conspecifics is fundamental to colonization and reproductive success.

Gaffke et al. describe a specialized matrix formulated for controlled release of this aggregation pheromone that was developed as a lure to manipulate adult densities in the field. One application of the lure at onset of adult emergence for each generation provided long term attraction and retention of D. carinulata adults on treated Tamarix spp. plants. Treated plants exhibited greater levels of defoliation, dieback and canopy reduction. Application of a single, well-timed aggregation pheromone treatment per generation increased the efficacy of this classical weed biological control agent.

Gaffke, A.M., Sing, S.E., Dudley, T.L. et al. Field demonstration of a semiochemical treatment that enhances Diorhabda carinulata biological control of Tamarix spp.. Sci Rep 9, 13051 (2019).