Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hormone Therapy for Fruit Flies Means Better Pest Control

ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2012) — Released en masse, sterile Mexican fruit flies can undermine a wild population of the fruit-damaging pests so that fewer applications of insecticide are needed. But the irradiation used to sterilize the flies weakens them, hindering their ability to outcompete wild-type males for female mates.

Now, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and collaborating scientists have devised a hormone therapy for making sterile flies "more macho," improving their chances of mating with female flies before their wild rivals do. Peter Teal, a chemist with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Gainesville, Fla., developed the hormone treatment in conjunction with a team of scientists from Mexico, Argentina and Austria.

Anastrepha ludens (Loew), the Mexican fruit fly, is a significant quarantine pest that could inflict billions of dollars in losses to citrus, peach, pears, avocado and other crops if it moved from Mexico into the United States. Fortunately, Mexico operates a sterile-insect release program to control the green-eyed, one-centimeter-long pests, whose larval stage feeds inside host fruit.


Continued:
 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904121705.htm

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