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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Research Project #442917

Research Project: Advancing Male Annihilation Technique for Invasive Cuelure-Responding Fruit Flies

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Project Number: 2040-22430-027-047-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 30, 2023
End Date: Mar 31, 2026

1) Test an existing product, Amulet C-L, for effectiveness against Z. cucurbitae at recommended application densities in the field. 2) Investigate at least two application densities of SPLAT-MAT-CL to determine which is most effective against Z. cucurbitae.

The primary purpose of this agreement is to enhance the viability and operationalize male annihilation technique (MAT) as a tool against invasive cuelure-responding tephritid fruit flies, especially Zeugodacus cucurbitae, the melon fly. One of the tools against Melon fly is application of the male lure known as cuelure (4-(p-Acetoxyphenyl)-2-Butanone) in combination with an insecticide in discrete spots at a high density per unit area to reduce the number of males so severely that females don’t mate and the population crashes, the method referred to as MAT. The most effective MAT applications today rely on a waxy matrix formulation including lure and toxicant that can be applied in spots with a pressure gun; here we refer to these as SPLAT. Operationally, the number of spots per unit area has generally been determined by expert judgement, and not systematically explored. A product suitable for MAT against melon fly exists on the market: Amulet C-L. This is a wafer imbued with cuelure and the insecticide fipronil. However, the label states that it is not to be used in residential areas. Melon fly incursions are almost always detected in urban areas, so this product, targeted for use in orchards, is not likely to be used for programs. However, Amulet C-L provides a suitable baseline against which to compare treatments that might be applicable in urban areas. We will conduct mark-release-recapture experiments in Hawaii to test varying densities on MAT based on the SPLAT approach and compare with Amulet C-L at the label recommended density. These experiments will allow us to directly assess the mortality induced by each of the experimental treatments.