Controlling Insects As A Matter of Taste

In an effort to better control cornworm, the insect's taste buds are being studied at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.

"Most pesticides are neurotoxins and must make it past all of the insect's defenses before they can affect the central nervous system," explains researcher Christopher A. Mullin, professor of insect toxicology. Although chemicals that stimulate feeding behavior can be used to convince insects to consume poisons, Mullin would rather find a chemical that depresses feeding to the point of starvation. This could be done either by a chemical that is so attractive that they will feed exclusively on it or by a powerful antifeedant.

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