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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Agroecosystem Management Research

Title: Identification of volatile compounds from a food-grade vinegar attractive to house flies (Diptera: Muscidae)

item Kun, Qian
item Zhu, Junwei - Jerry
item Sims, Steve
item Taylor, David - Dave
item Xiaopeng, Zeng

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2012
Publication Date: 4/15/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Kun, Q., Zhu, J.J., Sims, S., Taylor, D.B., Xiaopeng, Z. 2013. Identification of volatile compounds from a food-grade vinegar attractive to house flies (Diptera: Muscidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 106(2):979-987. Available:

Interpretive Summary: The house fly (Musca domestica) is not only an important agricultural pest, and also a cosmopolitan nuisance pest fly. They are feeding on decaying matter, breeding human waste, and often visit human food. House flies have been implicated to transmit numerous diseases including salmonella, diphtheria, tuberculosis, hepatitis and amoebic dysentery. The public health risks and annoyance associated with large housefly populations are thus in-tolerated, especially during the hotter summer months. The most common conventional methods for housefly control is to spray the infested areas with synthetic insecticide. Unfortunately, it is neither satisfactory nor effective, as it not only poses a health risk to humans, and also speeds up house flies to develop insecticide resistance. One of the often used alternative methods is to use toxic bait as a lure-kill technique to reduce the abundance of the fly population, but it often contains some of intolerant fetid odorants that are impossible to use indoors. The present work describes the findings of a house fly attractant from the natural food source, vinegar.

Technical Abstract: We report our recent findings on the identification of volatile compounds released from the ChiangKiang vinegar that is attractive to house flies, Musca domestica. The field trapping experiments showed that the traps baited with 50-ml of the vinegar captured the highest house flies in the diary farms in Nebraska, relative to other commercially available house fly attractant lures. Using solid microextraction method, a total of 8 compounds were collected from the emission of the vinegar bait in the field, and 7 of them were tentatively identified as acetic acid, furfural, butanoic acid, isovaleric acid, hexanoic acid, 2-phenylethanol and p-cresol. Electroantennograms showed that several vinegar compounds elicited significant responses from antennae of both sexes of house flies. Indoor behavioral assays revealed that flies responded better to the vinegar solution with 7-compound mixture than that of each individual component. The further field trapping tests showed that traps baited with the synthetic blend of the seven identified components caught as many flies as taps baited with the vinegar. This is the first report on house fly attractants identified from a vinegar product, which may provide further advantages without deploying stinky, manure associated odorants in bait system, especially in an indoor environment.

Last Modified: 06/25/2017
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