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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 03, 2005
End Date: Jun 02, 2010

The primary goal of the project is to develop efficient means to rear and evaluate insects used in autocidal or biological control methodologies. Our project has 3 objectives that interact in a dynamic manner. These objectives include the 1) rearing, 2) quality control testing, and 3) strain development of tephritid fruit fly pests and their beneficial parasitoids. Existing diets for fruit flies continually need to be improved in order to reduce costs and maintain or increase fly quality. New or existing strains must be regularly monitored for quality to know when they should be replaced or improved; therefore, having a battery of quality control tests or procedures is imperative. Such quality tests need to be cost efficient in discriminating among candidate strains, and whenever possible, measured against wild strains as standards for comparison.

For the first objective on rearing technology, we propose to examine various methods including: refinement of the existing defined larval and adult diets, new diet bulking agents, and sugar substitutes. The approach will be to compare new diets formulated based on new knowledge of nutrition, vitiamin requirements and bulking agents with the existing diets used for mass-rearing of flies. Data to be collected will include developmental time, days from egg to pupation, overall yield and size of larvae and pupae at different developmental stages. This work will focus on the Mediterranean fruit fly initially, then later on other fruit fly (esp. Bactrocera) or parasitoid species. For the second objective on quality control, we propose to emphasize evaluations of flies for field cage mating competitiveness and survival ability, and of parasitoids for field cage parasitism rates and survival ability. This will be accomplished by visaul observation of fly competitiveness and behavioral characteristics (including mating) in standard field cages. Data from different strains will be compared with currently mass-reared laboratory strains and wild field strains.For the third objective, standard genetic tools will be used for developing new genetic sexing strains in the Bactrocera, especially for B. latifrons. Standard gentetic tools will include pairing of wild and lab strains, and low dose irradiation for translocation lines that might reveal superior traits to the existing strains. The existing melon fly and oriental fruit fly genetic sexing strains will continue to be field evaluated in current or new sterile insect release programs in Hawaii or elsewhere in the Pacific or Asia. Formerly 5320-22430-019-00D (4/05).

Last Modified: 5/23/2015
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