Mediterranean fruit fly suppression using chemosterilants for area-wide integrated pest management.
BACKGROUND: The chemosterilisation technique has been demonstrated to reduce the population and fruit damage of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), in citrus orchards. Field trials showed efficacy by reducing the fruit fly population, which was progressively achieved by continuous application of lufenuron to several generations. Different authors have suggested that field trials should be carried out in isolated or wide areas in order to reduce fruit fly intrusion and obtain best results. To this end, a wide-area trial over 3600 hectares has been under investigation in Valencia (Spain) since 2002 to validate the chemosterilisation technique against the fruit fly. The whole area was treated with 24 traps ha-1, using more than 86 000 traps in the field trial. RESULTS: A continuous decrease in fruit fly population was observed over the 4 years under trial. Moreover, results showed a significant reduction in persimmon damage in the chemosterilant treatment area compared with a malathion aerial treatment area. In the case of citrus damage, no significant differences were obtained between malathion and chemosterilant treatments. CONCLUSION: The chemosterilant method reduces Mediterranean fruit fly populations, and therefore it is a candidate treatment to replace aerial treatments with insecticides in order to suppress this pest. In addition, the efficacy of chemosterilant treatment is increasing year after year. The possibility of using this technique combined with other control methods is discussed.