Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hormone therapy for fruit flies means better pest control

Date:
September 4, 2012
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
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, 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.

A new treatment developed by ARS and cooperating scientists makes sterile male Mexican fruit flies more macho so they will out compete wild males to mate with female Mexican fruit flies.
Credit: Photo by Jack Dykinga

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.

The program involves sterilizing male fruit flies with irradiation and releasing them into nature to mate with the wild female fruit flies. These matings produce eggs that don't hatch. Eventually, the population collapses, explains Teal, who leads the ARS Chemistry Research Unit in Gainesville.

The team's treatment uses a hormone analog called methoprene to speed the rate at which sterile male flies reach sexual maturity while kept in specialized holding facilities. In studies, methoprene-treated flies were ready for release four days sooner than non-treated flies. And thanks to a dietary supplement of hydrolyzed protein, the sterile flies, once released, were also stronger and more successful at competing for mates.

The results of this research were published in the Journal of Applied Entomology.

Read more about the program in the September 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine (www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/sep12/flies0912.htm).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Jan Suszkiw. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Gσmez, P. E. A. Teal, R. Pereira. Enhancing efficacy of Mexican fruit fly SIT programmes by large-scale incorporation of methoprene into pre-release diet. Journal of Applied Entomology, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2011.01695.x

Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Hormone therapy for fruit flies means better pest control." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904121705.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2012, September 4). Hormone therapy for fruit flies means better pest control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904121705.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Hormone therapy for fruit flies means better pest control." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120904121705.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) — Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins