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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DETECTION, CONTROL AND AREA-WIDE MANAGEMENT OF FRUIT FLIES Title: Assessment of attractiveness of cassava as a roosting plant for melon fly, bactrocera cucurbitae, and oriental fruit fly, B. dorsalis

Author
item McQuate, Grant

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Citation: Mcquate, G.T. 2011. Assessment of attractiveness of cassava as a roosting plant for melon fly, bactrocera cucurbitae, and oriental fruit fly, B. dorsalis. Journal of Insect Science. 11:1536-2442.

Interpretive Summary: Protein bait sprays, incorporating a toxicant, are one technique used for suppression of tephritid fruit fly populations. Effectiveness of the bait sprays, however, requires that they be applied in areas where the flies feed. Improved understanding of roosting behavior (i.e., where the flies choose to feed and seek shelter) of tephritid fruit flies is needed to improve the targeting of the bait sprays. In an earlier published study, we compared the attractiveness of potential border plants (windbreaks, broad-leaved ornamentals, corn (Zea mays), common weed species found in cucurbit-growing areas in Hawaii, several nonflowering/nonfruiting fruit tree species and one melon fly host crop [zucchini, Cucurbita pepo]) as roosting hosts for melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae, and oriental fruit fly, B. dorsalis. In a recent areawide melon fly suppression trial, the question was raised as to whether cassava, Manihot esculenta Crantz, was used as a melon fly roosting host. Cassava was of interest as a roosting host because, in contrast to many other identified preferred roosting hosts, it would also be a crop. Consequently, if planted on a farm as a trap crop, it also potentially increases the productivity of the crop production system overall. As a short-lived, shrubby perennial, cassava potentially constitutes a crop with a longer-term presence of roosting foliage than an annual crop such as corn, Zea mays L., which has often been planted as a roosting host for melon fly control. Using protein-baited traps set amidst potted plants placed adjacent to a papaya, Carica papaya L., orchard known to have established populations of melon fly and oriental fruit fly, we assessed the effectiveness of cassava as a roosting host by comparing its attractiveness to that of castor bean, Ricinus communis L., previously identified as one of the most attractive roosting hosts for melon fly, and to corn, a crop which has been planted as a roosting host for help in melon fly control. The results showed that use of cassava as a roosting host is comparable to use of castor bean by both melon fly and oriental fruit fly. These results provide encouragement to incorporate cassava on a farm as a trap crop (i.e., site for bait spray application). This has the advantage of having the trap crop be a crop on its own, as opposed to using a non-crop such as castor bean as a trap crop. Additionally, among prospective crops that could be used as a trap crop, cassava has an advantage of having more persistent foliage than an annual trap crop such as corn.

Technical Abstract: Application of bait spray to crop borders is a standard approach for suppression of melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett), populations, and may also be of value for suppression of oriental fruit fly, B. dorsalis (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae), populations. Establishment of preferred roosting hosts as crop borders may help to improve suppression of both fruit fly species by providing sites for bait spray applications. In an areawide melon fly suppression trial, the question was raised as to whether cassava, Manihot esculenta Crantz, was used as a melon fly roosting host. Cassava was of interest as a roosting host because, in contrast to many other identified preferred roosting hosts, it would also be a crop, potentially increasing the productivity of the crop production system overall. As a short-lived, shrubby perennial, cassava potentially constitutes a crop with a longer-term presence of roosting foliage than an annual crop such as corn, Zea mays L., which has often been planted as a roosting host for melon fly control. Using protein-baited traps set amidst potted plants placed adjacent to a papaya, Carica papaya L., orchard known to have established populations of melon fly and oriental fruit fly, we assessed the effectiveness of cassava as a roosting host by comparing its attractiveness to that of castor bean, Ricinus communis L., previously identified as one of the most attractive roosting hosts for melon fly, and to corn, a crop which has been planted as a roosting host for help in melon fly control. The results showed that use of cassava as a roosting host is comparable to use of castor bean by both melon fly and oriental fruit fly. These results provide encouragement to incorporate cassava on a farm as a trap crop (i.e., site for bait spray application). This has the advantage of having the trap crop be a crop on its own (as opposed to castor bean) and, among prospective crops that could be used as a trap crop, has foliage more persistent than an annual trap crop such as corn.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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