Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 30, 2014
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: When insect control research deviates from the natural situation the possible effects of these deviations on efficacy should be evaluated. Some pest control techniques are based upon research using untested assumptions about variables that might affect efficacy. For example, some phytosanitary treatments designed to disinfest agricultural commodities of invasive pests are based on research that used insects reared on diet and then inserted into fruit without testing if this technique alters efficacy. This research compared infestation via insertion of diet-reared Mexican fruit fly larvae into grapefruits vs. grapefruits infested via female flies laying eggs in the peel. Although the results did not show statistically significant differences between the two techniques, tendencies observed caution against accepting untested assumptions about efficacy when experimental techniques stray from more natural situations.
Technical Abstract: Research on insect control should be conducted in a manner that mimics as closely as is feasible its commercial application in all of its practicably conceivable forms. When significant deviations from commercial application are used in research the effect of the deviations on efficacy should be evaluated. Pest control techniques are sometimes based on research that used untested assumptions about variables that might affect efficacy. For example, some phytosanitary treatments are based on research done with diet-reared larvae inserted into holes bored in fruits although the effect of this manipulation has not been evaluated. This research compares this type of infestation of grapefruit with Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens (Loew) third instars with a more natural infestation technique whereby females were allowed to oviposit on picked grapefruit in laboratory cages and third instars were reared inside the fruit. Although the results did not show statistically significant differences between infestation techniques, tendencies in the data caution against researchers making assumptions about efficacy without testing them when experimental techniques stray from more natural situations for which the research is designed.