2013 Annual Report
Research conducted over the course of this project has produced two alternative products for suppression of the agricultural pests, oriental fruit fly and melon fruit fly by combining ISCA’s patented, biologically inert SPLAT® (Specialized Pheromone & Lure Application Technology) matrix with either methyl eugenol (ME) or cue-lure (C-L) as an attractant, and the reduced risk insecticide spinosad. The resulting products, SPLAT®MAT Spinosad ME (also marketed as STATICTM Spinosad ME by Dow AgroScience (Indianapolis, IN) and SPLAT® MAT Spinosad C-L, have demonstrated comparable, and in some cases superior performance in fruit fly control compared to the industry standard of a Min-U-Gel formulation mixed with naled (an organophosphate insecticide). Spinosad, an aerobic fermentation product of the soil Actinomycete, Saccharopolyspora spinosa, has been designated as a “Reduced Risk” insecticide by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) due to its low mammalian toxicity, reduced risk to humans and wildlife [compared to other insecticides], and short environmental half-life. In combination with SPLAT-ME and SPLAT-C-L our studies have shown that spinosad provides equal or better control of targeted fruit flies compared to naled, without the health risks associated with the use of organophosphate insecticides.
Male Annihilation Technique (MAT) involves mass trapping using male lures such as ME or C-L along with an approved killing agent. These attract-and-kill point sources are put out in numbers sufficient to impact the majority of males in the population. The few remaining males fertilize fewer females, and the population gradually declines because of the shortage of males. Lowering the number of males in a population minimizes the chances of successful reproduction and regeneration. The goal is to annihilate and totally remove the male fruit fly population from an area. Among the many disadvantages of current MAT products, besides their harmful effects on the environment, on beneficial insects, and on human health, is that they tend to be very short lived, particularly when weathered in habitats with high temperatures and/or high rainfall. In field trials, SPLAT®MAT Spinosad ME was equal in performance (i.e. number of fruit flies captured) to the standard Min-U-Gel ME with naled formulation for up to 12 weeks. Similar results were reported for SPLAT®MAT Spinosad C-L, which was equal in performance to Min-U-Gel C-L with naled during weeks 7 to 12. In subsequent comparative trials, SPLAT® MAT Spinosad ME compared favorably with Min-U-Gel ME with naled for up to 6 weeks, with superior performance from weeks 7 to 12 in two separate experiments conducted in a papaya orchard and a guava orchard.
SPLAT® MAT Spinosad ME was evaluated in demonstration trials as a male annihilation treatment against oriental fruit fly in Hawaii, peach fruit fly in Pakistan, and carambola fruit fly in Brazil. In Hawaii, field demonstration tests were conducted with wooden bait stations in commercial papaya orchards. Two different treatment densities (4 or 20 stations per acre) were evaluated and compared to a control (no treatment). Evaluations in Brazil and Pakistan were compared to standard methods (organophosphate insecticides) with one application of SPLAT® MAT Spinosad ME. Rapid reductions in male fruit flies occurred in all three demonstration trials. Results also suggest a reduction of female flies over time. Our current studies suggest SPLAT® MAT Spinosad ME “attract and kill” formulations are more convenient and safer to handle than current liquid insecticide formulations which utilize more toxic and less desirable organophosphate insecticides.