On an integro-differential model for pest control in a heterogeneous environment
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- Rodríguez, N. J. Math. Biol. (2015) 70: 1177. doi:10.1007/s00285-014-0793-8
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Insect pests pose a major threat to a balanced ecology as it can threaten local species as well as spread human diseases; thus, making the study of pest control extremely important. In practice, the sterile insect release method (SIRM), where a sterile population is introduced into the wild population with the aim of significantly reducing the growth of the population, has been a popular technique used to control pest invasions. In this work we introduce an integro-differential equation to model the propagation of pests in a heterogeneous environment, where this environment is divided into three regions. In one region SIRM is not used making this environment conducive to propagation of the insects. A second region is the eradication zone where there is an intense release of sterile insects, leading to decay of the population in this region. In the final region we explore two scenarios. In the first case, there is a small release of sterile insects and we prove that if the eradication zone is sufficiently large the pests will not invade. In the second case, when SIRM is not used at all in this region we show that invasions always occur regardless of the size of the eradication zone. Finally, we consider the limiting equation of the integro-differential equation and prove that in this case there is a critical length of the eradication zone which separates propagation from obstruction. Moreover, we provide some upper and lower bound for the critical length.