Submitted to: Journal of Chromatography
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/6/2006
Publication Date: 1/19/2007
Citation: Quinn, B.P., Bernier, U.R., Geden, C.J., Hogsette Jr, J.A., Carlson, D.A. 2007. Analysis of extracted and volatile components in blackstrap molasses feed as candidate house fly attractants. Journal of Chromatography. A, 1139(2):279-284
Interpretive Summary: House flies are found throughout the world, and these insects spread diseases to many animals, including humans. Control of house flies is accomplished by having desirable baits, effective traps, and suitable killing agents. Most house fly baits are designed for outdoor use or limited indoor use, and have a foul odor that is undesirable in food preparation and dining areas. Blackstrap molasses has long been used as a house fly bait, but it is sticky and viscous, making it difficult to handle. This study, conducted by scientists at the USDA, ARS, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, sought to identify compounds present in blackstrap molasses that are attractive to house flies. Chemical extractions of molasses were collected, tested against flies for attractiveness, and the compounds in the extract were identified. These chemicals can now be tested to produce, for the public and military, a novel indoor bait that does not smell offensive, is safe to handle, and is highly effective at trapping house flies.
Technical Abstract: House flies are a ubiquitous insect that have the potential to spread many diseases to humans and livestock. Controlling house fly populations is accomplished by having desirable baits, traps, and killing agents. Most house fly baits are designed for outdoor use or limited indoor use, and have a foul odor that is not conducive to food preparatory and dining areas. Blackstrap molasses has long been used as a house fly bait, but it is sticky and viscous, making it difficult to handle. This study sought to identify compounds present in blackstrap molasses that might be attractive to house flies, and therefore, provide the public with an indoor bait that is not olfactorally offensive and easy to handle. Indoor bioassays with house flies using 50% blackstrap molasses diluted in deionized water, a hexane extract of blackstrap molasses, and deionized water, elicited 86.2%, 70.6%, and 13.8% responses, respectively. Hexane and ether extracts of blackstrap molasses produced a large number of compounds with widely differing organic structures including substituted phenols, nitrogen and oxygen heterocycles, carboxylic acids, and many other organic compounds.