Early Warning Systems to Detect, and Suppress, Eastern Tent Caterpillar on Horse Farms

Period of Performance: 01/01/2004 - 12/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

IPM Development Company, Inc.
P.O.Box 417
Marylhurst, OR 97036
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


In 2001 the equine industry of Kentucky was faced with the sudden and unexpected emergence of a disease now called Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS). This disease resulted in early and late-term abortions in horses, and in an economic loss to Kentucky over $300 million dollars. The disease was correlated with the presence of large numbers of eastern tent caterpillars (ETC), Malacosoma americanum, that had fed on wild cherry trees on farms and were subsequently ingested by horses. The extremely high value of individual foals, the ability of ETC to disperse hundreds of meters, and the relative difficulty of reaching remote tents of caterpillars, suggest the need for alternative control tactics and methods to predict population outbreaks The sex pheromone of the ETC moth can be used for monitoring as a trap bait or for direct control via an approach called attract & kill which mates an insecticide with the pheromone. Monitoring traps and attract & kill have the potential to facilitate early detection of incipient outbreaks and enable a safe, residue-free method of pest management for this recently identified pest. IPM Development Company will produce optimized lures and traps for detection and monitoring populations of the eastern tent caterpillar. IPMDC will produce pheromone-based suppression technology for ETC by combining the sex attractant with point source (LastCall) or kill station sites that contain a toxicant. This control technology will possess health and environmental safety compatible with horse breeding operations