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The Science of Suterra's Dispenser Technologies for Mating Disruption

Suterra Apr 19, 2024 1:45:00 AM

It is widely accepted within the agricultural industry that mating disruption is an effective and valuable Integrated Pest Management tactic. Whether you’re a new or veteran user of mating disruption, Suterra is here to provide a solid explanation of the different types of pheromone delivery systems and how they function. 

Types of Products Available for Mating Disruption

Within the semiochemical industry, there are three primary types of products available for mating disruption. These are generally referred to as dispensers (e.g., CheckMate® and CeladaTM), aerosols (e.g., Puffers®), and microencapsulated sprayables (e.g., Flowable). Each type of product has its own set of features and benefits. Dispensers and sprayables are often referred to as “passive-release” delivery systems, while aerosols are referred to as “active-release.” This distinction is simply because dispensers and sprayables are designed to continuously diffuse pheromone while aerosols are mechanized to emit pheromone at specific times and intervals. 

Whether passive or active, the goal is the same: to effectively saturate the target environment with pheromone precisely when and where needed to impact the ability of the male of the target species to locate conspecific females. Therefore, choosing the right delivery system requires careful consideration of the characteristics of the pest and the crop system.

Entomologically speaking, insects like mealybugs and scales require high-density continuous (“passive”) pheromone release platforms. This is because males of these species are extremely small (appr. 1 mm in size), have limited flight ranges and very short life spans, and tend to search for mates within the canopy. For these reasons, thorough pheromone distribution within the canopy of the crop to ensure contact with the male antenna is essential. Currently, this can only be accomplished using high-density, hand-applied or sprayable microscopic dispensers. 

What Makes an Effective Mating Disruption Dispenser?

Industry-wide there are several different types of dispensers which vary greatly in how they are engineered, the types of materials that are used, and how those materials interact with the pheromone. Each of these design considerations impact the stability and longevity of the pheromone release profile and ultimately the effectiveness of the mating disruption product. 

When designed properly, dispensers should function by continuously and steadily emitting pheromone over a specific duration of time. However, this stable and constant release is not guaranteed from all dispensers, and in some cases, dispenser performance can be heavily impacted by exposure to environmental conditions such as ultra-violet radiation and temperature. Reliable release over a wide range of environmental conditions depends on the quality and design of the product as well as its active and inert ingredients. Simply put, the amount of active ingredient pheromone on the label is not necessarily the amount getting into the environment. 

Suterra’s dispensers are expertly engineered and rigorously field-tested to ensure the greatest longevity and most consistent release rate over time, offering growers the best mating disruption protection and return on investment. There are currently two dispenser technologies available from Suterra: CheckMate® and CeladaTM. The CheckMate® line is available for a variety of pests, including California red scale and Oriental fruit moth, and CeladaTM is now available for vine mealybug and codling moth.

CheckMate® Dispensers

CheckMate® dispensers have been trusted by growers for nearly three decades to provide effective mating disruption for several key pests. These were the first ever available mating disruption products for non-Lepidopteran species like California red scale and vine mealybug, breakthrough innovations that demonstrate Suterra’s leadership in product development and commitment to bringing effective mating disruption solutions to the agricultural industry.



Although the CheckMate® dispenser design may seem uncomplicated at first glance, a tremendous amount of chemical engineering and materials science exists beneath the surface. The dispenser (pictured below) is made up of three layers that work in tandem to provide controlled, consistent, and long-lasting pheromone release.


The innermost layer is the pheromone reservoir, containing the active ingredient and co-formulants. The middle layer is a controlled-release membrane with precise properties that interact with the species-specific pheromone molecule for optimal release. The outermost impermeable layer serves as a protection layer against environmental elements and, in combination with the middle layer, creates the surface area from which the pheromone molecule diffuses (the circular area as visible on the final product). Each dispenser is equipped with a hook for secure and ergonomically friendly placement into the tree or vine canopy.

Celada Dispensers

Using decades of experience and grower feedback, we identified key feature improvements resulting in CeladaTM, the latest dispenser innovation from Suterra. Advancements include longer-acting formulations, dispensers that are more camouflaged within the crop, even greater retention on the plant throughout the season’s operations, and little to no variability in performance across a wide range of environmental conditions.



This ground-breaking technology was developed by our team of engineers, chemists, and entomologists. Each product has undergone meticulous developmental steps, laboratory analyses, and rigorous field testing to ensure the most effective pheromone release that growers can continue to rely on to protect their crops. CeladaTM dispensers, like the CheckMate® line, are a continuous-release platform. Product design and materials concepts were conceived from such sectors as the pharmaceutical industry, which has very low tolerance for product failure. At Suterra, we design products to achieve those same levels of reliability because as a grower-owned company, we know there is little room for error when it comes to crop protection and the bottom line.



These latest dispensers are scientifically engineered using cutting-edge proprietary resins that control the pheromone release. Like the specificity of the controlled-release membrane of CheckMate® dispensers, each CeladaTM product has its own unique resin blend designed for the exact pheromone molecule it is releasing.


The entire piece is a single unit of the proprietary resin, an ampule or reservoir that contains and releases the pheromone active ingredient and co-formulants and a fully integrated hook for ease of deployment. The ampule and tab at the bottom are part of the passive vapor release design and do not need to be crushed, twisted, or pinched. For more specific deployment instructions, view the Celada™ VMB deployment guide.  


Getting the Most Out of Mating Disruption

Suterra’s dispensers offer the most effective and longest lasting mating disruption options available for pests like vine mealybug and California red scale and are suitable for both conventional and organic production.

Visit Suterra’s product pages for additional details including application rates, deployment patterns and guidelines, and contact our team to learn more about our mating disruption solutions.