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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Mobile mating disruption of light brown apple moths using pheromone-treated sterile Mediterranean fruit flies

item Suckling, David
item Woods, Bill
item Mitchell, Vanessa
item Twidle, Andrew
item Lacey, Ian
item Jang, Eric
item Wallace, Andrew

Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/7/2010
Publication Date: 2/10/2011
Citation: Suckling, D.M., Woods, B., Mitchell, V.J., Twidle, A., Lacey, I., Jang, E.B., Wallace, A.R. 2011. Mobile mating disruption of light brown apple moths using pheromone-treated sterile Mediterranean fruit flies. Pest Management Science. 1004-1014.

Interpretive Summary: The light brown apple moth is a newly found invasive species to the stat of California. Conventional control measures such as pesticide cover sprays are frowned on by the public and newer innovative methods are needed to control this pest which are environmentally compatable. Pheromone disruption involves the use of the pest’s natural product odors to confuse the moths resulting in reduced mating and offspring. In this paper we show the proof of concept for “mobile mating disruption”, a technique that applies the pest pheromone to another insects that serves as a carrier for the disruptant. Our results suggest that this method might be useful in situations where more conventional methods are not useful or acceptable.

Technical Abstract: Public opposition to aerial application of sex pheromone for mating disruption of light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana, LBAM) in California stopped its further use in the ca. $74 million eradication programme in 2008, underscoring the need for other eradication tactics. We demonstrate that pheromone-treated sterile Mediterranean fruit flies (medflies, Ceratitis capitata) can disrupt communication in male moths. Medflies, topically-dosed with moth pheromone (E-11-tetradecenyl acetate), showed a No Observed Effect Level of ~10 µg per fly, with increasing toxicity from 30-100 µg per fly. Greater potency and longevity of attraction, and lower mortality was achieved using micro-encapsulated pheromone. Releases of 1,000 pheromone-treated medflies/ha prevented male moth catch to synthetic lures in treated 4-ha plots for one day in suburban Perth, Australia. Releases of ca. 3,000 pheromone-treated medflies/ha disrupted catch to single female moths in delta traps, and to synthetic pheromone lures. Percentage disruption on the first four nights was 95%, 91%, 82% and 85%. Disruption of moth catch using pheromone-treated medflies is a novel development that with future refinement may provide a more socially acceptable tool for application of the insect mating disruption technique to control invasive insects in urban.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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