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Gay Moths? A Humane Approach to Limiting Reproduction

Gay Moths? A Humane Approach to Limiting Reproduction

Moths are a hardy, adaptive creature who used to be controlled using old-fashioned moth balls. But like several substances from our grandparents generation, these small round white pellets are toxic to not only moths, but humans.

In recent years, fighting moths has proven more difficult for a number of reasons. The flying critters love natural materials, and wearing cotton and linen is definitely “in” again. At the same time, improvements to home heating systems, including insulation, provide excellent moth habitats.

What to do when they begin to reproduce? A team of scientists may have discovered an effective and non-toxic birth control method.

The British agricultural and technology company Exosect has researchers using a substance that confuses mating male moths, so that they seek out other males instead of females. By using wax tablets injected with tiny amounts of moth pheromones, the scent rubs off on the male moth. Carrying this scent, he attracts other males.

"The powder overwhelms their senses and they aren't able to detect regular females anymore," Exosect spokeswoman Georgina Donovan explained in a recent press release. The company has partnered with the London Natural History Museum to take research into the realm of the marketplace.

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