Insect Pest Pheromone Lures May Enhance the Activity of Insectivorous Bats in Mediterranean Vineyards and Apple Orchards

Carmi Korine, Yuval Cohen, Idan Kahnonitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Insectivorous bats may play a significant role in regulating populations of agricultural pests. Currently, few methods are available to enhance the activity of bats in agroecosystems. We asked whether synthetic sex pheromones, used in integrated pest management (IPM) to impede the mating success of major moth pests in vineyards and apple orchards, could also enhance the activity and richness of insectivorous bats, their natural enemies. We hypothesized that applying concentrated sex pheromones of pest moths will alter the movement patterns of male moths, indirectly affecting bat richness and activity. We compared the effect of sex pheromones on bats under two different agricultural management systems: conventional farming and IPM. We used synthetic sex pheromones of Lobesia botrana or Cydia pomonella; both are among the most destructive moth pests in vineyards and apple orchards, respectively. Using passive acoustic monitoring, we compared species richness and bat activity in plots without and with additional pheromones. In both IPM vineyards and IPM apple orchards, total bat activity and species richness significantly increased after applying the pheromone treatment, with a positive correlation between total bat activity and the numbers of moth pests in the vineyards. In conventional vineyards, bat species richness increased significantly, but not total bat activity. IPM vineyards had significantly higher species richness than conventional vineyards, both before and after the pheromone treatment. Our study shows that moth pheromone lures, commonly used as a pest control method, may also attract insectivorous bats, which in turn may further suppress the pests. These findings highlight the potential of insectivorous bats as pest control agents and call for further research directed at integrating them in IPM practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16566
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • apple orchards
  • insectivorous bats
  • integrated pest management
  • management schemes
  • pheromones
  • vineyards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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