Semiochemicals: A Sustainable Approach to Pest Management

ISCA leads the way in semiochemical synthesis and analysis to develop safe, environmentally friendly solutions for pest management.

In nature, all living organisms have ways of communicating with one another. Some use verbal language, while others use nonverbal signals to send and receive information. Insects and plants use what are known as “semiochemicals.” These organisms produce semiochemicals (such as sex pheromones) to send information that affects the behavior of insects. Receiving insects use this information to inform their behavior, such as finding a suitable mate or locating plants that will serve as viable hosts.

ISCA, a world leader in semiochemical development for pest management, has mastered how to use semiochemicals—including pheromones, plant volatiles, flower oils, sugars, and proteins—to manipulate insect behavior in ways that protect crops and forests. By mimicking systems already found in nature, we can create sustainable agriculture while posing no threat to the environment or public safety.

How Semiochemicals Protect Crops & Forests

Disrupts the Mating Cycle

Female sex pheromones are a type of semiochemical that affects mating behavior. In pest management, pheromones are instrumental in reducing insect populations by preventing them from procreating. When a pheromone solution is used on crops, male insects become confused and unable to find a female to mate with. This proactive approach reduces pest populations without killing insects and without using a single drop of pesticide.

Attracts Insects Into Traps

Semiochemicals can be used on crops to attract insects to a trap. Insects are drawn to the semiochemical solution, which contains a trace amount of pesticide to effectively eradicate the pest. Because the amount is so small and the solution is used on just a tiny fraction of the crop, we drastically reduce the amount of pesticide needed compared to the conventional “spray everything” method.

Naturally Repels Insects

In nature, insects are attracted to healthy trees and plants and repelled by unhealthy or dying ones. When semiochemical repellents are placed on healthy plants, they trick insects into believing it is decayed, signaling that the plant would not make a viable host. Semiochemical solutions have protected entire forests from the damaging effects of mountain pine beetles without harming other wildlife and without blanket spraying of pesticides.

Benefits of Semiochemicals


Because they are a natural part of an insect’s makeup, semiochemicals are highly effective at controlling pest behavior.


Insects do not develop resistance to semiochemicals as they do with conventional pesticides.


Semiochemicals contain no poisonous substances and pose no threat to humans, non-target pests, or wildlife.


Semiochemicals are only needed in low amounts, and their non-toxic nature make them better for the planet.

ISCA Solutions
Integrated Pest Management for Sustainable Agriculture

Our Mating Disruption, Attract & Kill, Attractants, Repellents and Monitoring products are all effective, economical and environmentally-friendly.