A serious sugarcane pest, Dasylepida ishigakiensis, remains in the soil during most of its life cycle except for a short period for mating. Mating disruption by an artificial release of the sex pheromone (R)-2-butanol (R2B), therefore, may be a feasible method to control this pest. We examined the effects of artificial release of R2B and its related compounds, (S)-2-butanol (S2B) and the racemic 2-butanol (rac-2B), on the mating success of this beetle both in the laboratory and in the field. In flight tunnel experiments, almost all males orientated towards a R2B-releasing source and 40% of them landed on the source. When the atmosphere was permeated with R2B, the frequency of males landing on the model was significantly reduced. Both rac-2B and S2B were less effective, but substantial reduction in landing success by males was achieved at higher rac-2B concentrations. R2B released from polyethylene dispensers in sugarcane plots greatly reduced not only the proportion of females mated with males but also the number of males caught by R2B-baited traps, indicating that male mate-searching behaviour was strongly affected by the released R2B. Similar inhibitory effects on male behaviour were also observed when tube- or rope-type dispensers released high rac-2B concentrations in the field. These results indicate that it would be highly possible to control D. ishigakiensis through the disruption of the sexual communication by releasing either synthetic R2B or rac-2B.