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Interactions between Plant Semiochemicals and Insects

Plants release signals known as semiochemicals that either attract or repel insects. Here I will review what are semiochemicals, how plants use them and human uses of these chemicals.

I. What are semiochemicals. Why do plants produce them. Overview on how do plants use them (Beyaert and Hilker, 2014; Cook et al. 2006).

II. Differences between semiochemicals used to attract (‘pull’) or to repel (‘push’) insects. Why and when do plants use semiochemicals to either attract or repel insects. Examples on plants use semiochemicals for each case (Dettner and Liepert, 1994; Landolt and Phillips, 1997).

III. Human use and benefits of semiochemicals. How humans obtain or synthesize semiochemicals for their own uses (Agelopoulos et al. 1999).
Understanding how plants use semiochemicals and the types of chemicals plants use to communicate with insects can help up identify potential chemicals for insect repellent and pest control.


Agelopoulos N, Birkett MA, Hick AJ, Hooper AM, Pickett JA, Pow EM, Smart LE, Smiley DWM, Wadhams LJ, Woodcook CM (1999) Exploiting semiochemicals in insect control. Pesticide Science 55:225-235.
Beyaert I, Hilker M (2014) Plant odour plumes as mediators of plant-insect interactions. Biol. Rev. 89:68-81.
Cook SM, Khan ZR, Pickett JA (2006) The use of push-pull strategies in integrated pest management. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 52:375-400.
Dettner K, Liepert C (1994) Chemical mimicry and camouflage. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 39:129-154.
Landolt PJ, Phillips TW (1997) Host plant influences on sex pheromone behavior of phytophagous insects. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 42:371-391.

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