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How much is a pheromone worth?


Pheromone-baited traps have been widely used in integrated pest management programs, but their economic value for growers has never been reported.  We analyzed the economic benefits of long-term use of traps baited with the citrus fruit borer Gymnandrosoma aurantianum sex pheromone in Central-Southern Brazil. Our analysis show that from 2001 to 2013 citrus growers avoided accumulated pest losses of 132.7 million to 1.32 billion USD in gross revenues, considering potential crop losses in the range of 5 to 50%. The area analyzed, 56,600 to 79,100 hectares of citrus (20.4 to 29.4 million trees), corresponds to 9.7 to 13.5% of the total area planted with citrus in the state of São Paulo. The data show a benefit-to-cost ratio of US$ 2,655 to US$ 26,548 per dollar spent on research with estimated yield loss prevented in the range of 5-50%, respectively. This study demonstrates that, in addition to the priceless benefits for the environment, sex pheromones are invaluable tools for growers as their use for monitoring populations allows rational and reduced use of insecticides, a win-win situation.

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