Submitted to: Entomological Society of America Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2005
Publication Date: March 5, 2006
Citation: Hennessey, M.K., Kendra, P.E., Jones, E.M., Epsky, N.D. 2006. Likelihood of mated females of anastrepha suspensa (diptera: tephritidae) entering an area from infested grapefruits discarded onto backyard compost piles in miami. Entomological Society of America Proceedings. Technical Abstract: An incursion of Tephritid fruit flies can develop from a founding population, and a single mated female can found a population in a suitable habitat that contains sufficient food, shelter, and hosts. Most fruit obtained by U.S. citizens is eaten, discarded into landfills, or disposed of in the sewage system. However, some fruit is discarded directly into the environment, including onto backyard compost piles. Composting of insect-infested fruit is a potential pathway for pest introduction, and south Florida's environment and climate make it particularly vulnerable to exotic pest fruit flies. This study was designed to estimate the likelihood of entry of fruit flies into Florida through backyard composting. Ripe grapefruits, Citrus paradisi McF., were experimentally infested with the Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew). Five infested fruit were discarded onto each of forty outdoor compost piles (4 date replicates; 10 replicate piles per date) in Miami, FL. Five days after fruit placement, the compost piles were covered with conical screen cages and fly emergence was monitored for 25 days. Despite high mortality (~90%) of flies from the compost relative to laboratory control fruits, potentially mated females emerged from 18 (45%) of the compost piles. The results suggest that there is a high likelihood that a mated female will originate from two or more infested grapefruit discarded on a compost pile.