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J Econ Entomol. 2007 Apr;100(2):273-82.

Sterile insect technique and Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae): assessing the utility of aromatherapy in a Hawaiian coffee field.

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  • 1USDA-APHIS, 41-650 Ahiki St., Waimanalo, HI 96795, USA. todd.e.shelly@aphis.usda.gov

Abstract

The sterile insect technique (SIT) is widely used in integrated programs against tephritid fruit fly pests, particularly the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Unfortunately, the mass-rearing procedures inherent to the SIT often lead to a reduction in the mating ability of the released males. One potential solution involves the prerelease exposure of males to particular attractants. In particular, exposure of male Mediterranean fruit flies to ginger, Zingiber officinale Roscoe, root oil (GRO) has been shown to increase mating success in laboratory and field cage trials. Here, we describe a field experiment that compares the level of egg sterility observed in two Hawaiian coffee, Coffea arabica L., plots, with GRO-exposed, sterile males released in one (treated) plot and nonexposed, sterile males released in the other (control) plot. Once per week in both plots over a 13-wk period, sterile males were released, trap captures were scored to estimate relative abundance of sterile and wild males, and coffee berries were collected and dissected in the laboratory to estimate the incidence of unhatched (sterile) eggs. Data on wild fly abundance and the natural rate of egg hatch also were collected in a remote area that received no sterile males. Despite that sterile:wild male ratios were significantly lower in the treated plot than in the control plot, the incidence of sterile eggs was significantly higher in the treated plot than in the control plot. Correspondingly, significantly higher values of Fried's competitiveness index (C) were found, on average, for treated than control sterile males. This study is the first to identify an association between the GRO "status" of sterile males and the incidence of egg sterility in the field and suggests that prerelease, GRO exposure may represent a simple and inexpensive means to increase the effectiveness of Mediterranean fruit fly SIT programs.

PMID:
17461047
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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