Fruit Fly Dyeing Continues OverseasBy
In tests abroad, new technology from USDAs
Service continues showing promise in suppressing fruit flies
with SureDye, a mixture of bait and a food-grade red dye. Insect pests
that eat SureDye drop dead soon after they are exposed to sunlight.
In ARS-led tests in tropical fruit orchards, SureDye usually killed
more than 95 percent of the pests. The dyes targets in Morocco
were Mediterranean fruit flies; in Mexico, Mexican fruit flies; and in
Surinam, carambola fruit flies. The latter is the first Asian tropical
fruit fly species known to invade the Western Hemisphere. Agricultural
officials are keeping a wary eye, since it poses a potential threat to
In previous tests, SureDye has usually performed at least as well as
malathion, the chemical insecticide that is a standard tool in fruit
fly eradication. SureDye may also pose less of a hazard to the
environment and beneficial insects such as bees.
SureDye was developed by ARS scientists and a Baltimore-based firm,
PhotoDye International, Inc. The dye is D&C Red No. 28. But fruit
flies consume it mainly because they crave the corn-protein-based
bait. ARS entomologists Robert Mangan and Daniel Moreno developed the
bait. Mangan leads the
Quality and Fruit Insects Research Unit at ARS
Research Center in Weslaco, Texas.
Mangans next international tests with SureDye will start soon
in Brazil and on Portugals Island of Madeira. It previously
showed promise against Mediterranean fruit flies in California,
Caribbean fruit flies in Florida and Mexican fruit flies in Texas.
PhotoDye has asked the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency to register SureDye for use in
U.S. medfly outbreaks.
A groundbreaking ceremony Dec. 8 marks a boost on the way for
Weslacos fruit fly and other research. ARS will build a
24,000-square-foot building for about 50 of the centers research
and administrative personnel. In addition to Mangans research
group, the center has a Beneficial Insects Research Unit and an
Integrated Farming and Natural Resources Research Unit.
Scientific contact: Robert L. Mangan, USDA-ARS
Research Center, Weslaco, Texas, phone (956) 565-2647, fax