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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Chemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #180509

Title: Improving the efficacy of the sterile insect technique for fruit flies by incorporation of hormone and dietary supplements into adult holding protocols

item Teal, Peter
item Dueben, Barbara
item Olson, Shelley

Submitted to: IAEA-FAO Area Wide Insect Management Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/18/2005
Publication Date: 5/1/2007
Citation: Teal, P.E., Gomez-Simuta, Y., Dueben, B.D., Holler, T.C., Olson, S.R. 2007. Improving the efficacy of the sterile insect technique for fruit flies by incorporation of hormone and dietary supplements into adult holding protocols, pp 163-173. In Vreysen, M.J.B., A.S. Robinson, and J. Hendrichs (Eds.), Area-Wide Control of Insect Pest: From Research to Field Implementation, Springer, Dordrect, The Netherlands. 163-173.

Interpretive Summary: Tephritid fruit flies are quarantine pests of significant importance to the citrus and vegetable industries in the United States. One way to control this pest is the sterile insect technique (SIT). Control is achieved in SIT by mass release of sterile males who mate with wild females. Wild females that mate with sterile males do not produce viable eggs which, over time, results in population decline and eradication. One of the more significant costs associated with SIT protocols for Tephritid flies is the need to hold mass reared adult flies for as many as 7, or more, days prior to release because males require time to become sexually mature. Scientists at the Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, Gainesville Florida, in collaboration with APHIS have been studying how diet and hormone therapy can improve SIT. They have discovered that addition of the hormone mimic, methoprene, accelerates reproductive development by as much as 5 days and significantly improves mating potential of sterile males. Additionally adding protein to the diet fed to adults acts synergistically with the methoprene to greatly improve efficacy of SIT. The scientists are now developing methods to incorporate these technologies into mass rearing of sterile flies and it is anticipated that the efficacy of SIT will be increased by at least 50%.

Technical Abstract: We have been studying the physiological mechanisms responsible for coordination of reproductive maturity and sex pheromone communication in males of the genus Anastrepha in order to develop methods for acceleration of reproductive maturity among sterilized males. We have discovered that juvenile hormones are key hormones involved in coordination of reproductive development and sexual signaling. Additionally, we have determined that incorporation of protein into the diet fed to sterile adults is critically important to improve sexual signaling. These results have led to development of a novel strategy to accelerate reproductive development of laboratory reared sterile flies by incorporating hormone supplement therapy using mimics of JH including methoprene and fenoxycarb and protein diets for use in mass rearing protocols.