As told to BBC's Technology of Business reporter Kabir Chibber, the product Exosect has recently been released in Punjab and West Bengal to combat rice stem borers. These pests have been terrorizing crops in India and in the past, were only partially controlled by "aggressive" use of chemicals. With the use of Exosect, pioneered by a UK biological control company, pest populations in agricultural units have decreased significantly.
And why do I care about insects roaming around in India? Well, to start, agriculture supplies 20% of India's large economy. But, mostly, these borers have been tricked by Exosect into believing male pests are indeed female. Unable to determine female from male borer, these flippant fliers launch into a life of confusion and often are left unable to reproduce.
Exosect achieves this "miracle" through sticky wax powder soaked in female pheromones. This powder is attached to males, rendering every male affected a female in another borer's eyes.
However roundabout and biologically cruel, this method is working not only in India but also to combat pests in apple orchards and moths in such esteemed places like the Royal Opera House and the Houses of the Parliament in London.
The sexual implications of such a breakthrough are numerous. For one, the successful reproduction and use of pheromones, even in such a simplistic biological context, could have repercussions ranging from stimulating human patients out of hypoactive sexual desire disorder to an extreme change in sex worker marketing. For more information on the science behind pheromones, please visit:
Sex, Smell, and the Genome