Area-wide management of fruit flies using the sterile insect technique


Abstract: Traditionally, control of fruit flies has been mostly based on the uncoordinated application of insecticides using a localised farm-by-farm approach. This strategy is not effective or sustainable in view of fruit fly movement and is also damaging to the environment. The area-wide approach has its roots in the management of vector-borne diseases and locust pests and has increasingly been used for the management of fruit flies. The aim of a fruit fly area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) strategy is to prevent the targeted population surpassing an economic threshold. AW-IPM targets an entire pest population which requires treating all habitats to avoid leaving infestations from where migrant insects can re-establish in areas of concern. Insect movement, occurring sometimes over long distances, is generally underestimated. Consequently, most conventional pest management is an uncoordinated local action against only segments of a pest population, resulting very often in unsustainable control. In addition, the implementation of control projects requires a phased conditional approach where the next step should only be implemented after the completion of the previous one. Among the control tactics available, the sterile insect technique (SIT) can contribute to the AW-IPM approach in situations where the number of key pests is low, when integrated with other control methods and when technically and economically feasible. Among the methods available for integration, depending on the characteristics of the infested area, could be sanitation, bait sprays, bait stations, biocontrol, and male annihilation technique (MAT).

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