Source: Agricultural Research Service

The Agricultural Research Service has granted an exclusive license to South Carolina Scientific, Inc., of Columbia, S.C., to produce and market an ARS-developed insect sex pheromone that can help control the pink hibiscus mealybug, a crop pest that can cause up $750 million in damage annually to U.S. crops.

Chemist Aijun Zhang at the ARS Invasive Insect Biocontrol and Behavior Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., developed the pheromone. The pink hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsutus) causes severe economic problems worldwide by attacking a wide range of plants, including vegetable and citrus crops, forest trees, and many species of ornamental plants.

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