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New Zealand Plant Protection 61 (2008): 215-221

Comparisons of traps and lures for monitoring grass grub, Costelytra zealandica

C.R. Unelius, R.J. Townsend, D.C. Mundy, L.M. Manning, T.A. Jackson and D.M. Suckling


Phenol, the attractant pheromone of adult males of the native New Zealand grass grub, Costelytra zealandica (White), is produced in the beetles as the result of bacterial degradation of tyrosine. A lure consisting of a resin impregnated with phenol has been widely used to monitor male beetle flight activity. The present formulation is highly attractive for the first week in the field, but then loses activity rapidly. A number of phenol-containing formulations were tested to improve the lure. A new formulation gave lower catches that were more stable with time, producing data more suitable for population density estimation. Phenylacetaldehyde, a bacterial metabolite of phenylalanine, was tested as a possible synergist to phenol. Field results showed that this floral compound exhibited no behaviourally-active properties to grass grubs when tested together with phenol. Catches with water traps were compared with those in sticky delta and flat delta traps in two vineyards and in pasture. Water traps caught four times more beetles.

Keywords: grass grub, Costelytra zealandica, trap, monitoring, population density, phenol, resin lure.

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