Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Research Project #441977

Research Project: Advancing Molecular Pest Management, Diagnostics, and Eradication of Fruit Flies and Invasive Species

Location: Tropical Pest Genetics and Molecular Biology Research

Project Number: 2040-22430-028-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Apr 25, 2022
End Date: Oct 14, 2025

Objective:
Objective 1: Increase the effectiveness of sterile insect techniques for pest management including the development of next generation methods to achieve sterility, advances in mass insect rearing, and new combinations of techniques for cost-effective suppression and eradication of tephritids. Sub-objective 1A: Improvement of tephritid strains by characterizing strain domestication and colony infusions by quantifying the genetic and phenotypic effects and changes in microbial communities. Sub-objective 1B: Appraisal of Sterile Insect Technique strains for efficacy and efficiency. Objective 2: Identify pathways and risk factors for invasive tropical pest introduction, improve pest surveillance and detection methods, and analyze pest population dynamics at multiple levels to increase the protection of agriculture in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. Sub-objective 2A: Identify attractant for female oriental fruit fly using host fruit volatiles associated with oviposition. Sub-objective 2B: Develop tools for pathway analysis of invasive Bactrocera and other tropical pests to improve bio-surveillance methods. Sub-objective 2C: Evaluate improvements to Male Annihilation Technique under low prevalence scenarios via changes in application density and pattern.

Approach:
Research Goal 1A: Quantify the effect of cycling rearing temperatures, colony infusion protocols, and domestication on fly quality as determined by previously established performance metrics (flight ability, locomotor activity, adult longevity, time to sexual maturity, and fecundity) and microbial community diversity. Research Goal 1B: Evaluate current methods and develop standardized protocols for appraising the efficacy of mass-reared sterile flies in suppressing wild populations that can be used as a standard to determine if a new strain is able to be adopted. Hypothesis 2A: Host fruit odor based female attractant attracts more oviposition-ready females than odor from torula yeast. Hypothesis 2B: Genome-wide population genomics across the geographic range of emerging Bactrocera species, along with other tropical pests, will allow development of SNP-based source estimation along with other tools that can be applied to detection surveys, and improve the understanding of pathways of these invasive pests and improved control. Hypothesis 2C: An application density of half of the standard for male annihilation technique (currently 600 spots per square mile) will be at least as effective at killing male B. dorsalis.