Kevin Farnier is a research scientist in Chemical Ecology specialising on lure development for the control of insect pests. He uses a multidisciplinary approach which involves behavioural studies, analytical chemistry, insect electrophysiology to investigate the olfactory responses of pest insects and identify potential natural attractants (e.g., pheromones or food and microbial-derived odours). These ‘volatile’ attractants can then be formulated using various dispenser technologies to create a synthetic ‘odorant’ lure used for monitoring the presence of the pest (biosecurity), or as a pest control tool in integrated pest management strategies (e.g., mass trapping). Since he joined Agriculture Victoria in 2017, Kevin has developed lures for Queensland fruit flies, carob moths and several carpophilus beetle species.
In his current Agrifutures project started in January 2022, Kevin’s research focusses on the development and optimisation of an external trap and a long-lasting lure to help monitor and control small hive beetles’ populations in apiaries and alleviate their impact on the beekeeping industry.
Before that, Kevin completed a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Marseilles in 2005 and MSc in Environmental Chemistry at the University of Nice in 2007. He then worked as a research assistant in several European chemical ecology labs (2007-2011), before completing a doctoral degree on the influence of olfactory and visual cues on host location and selection of Eucalyptus-feeding psyllids at La Trobe University (2011-2015). He did a postdoc at the Natural Resources Institute / NIAB-EMR (UK) where he worked on the development of a lure for the spotted-wing Drosophila (2016).