Host marking pheromone and GF120TM applied in a push–pull scheme reduce grapefruit infestation by Anastrepha ludens in field-cage studies

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Conventional fruit fly control via insecticides or the combination of a bait and an insecticide rarely achieves optimal results and faces mounting pressure due to its negative environmental impact. Host marking pheromones (HMPs) represent a biorational alternative that can be used as a repellent (‘push’) either alone or in combination with a lethal bait spray such as GF120TM (‘pull’) to enhance fruit fly control efficacy. Here, we tested the synthetic HMP (Anastrephamide) of Anastrepha ludens in combination with a laced protein bait, to reduce grapefruit infestation in field-cage studies and evaluate the effectiveness of a ‘push–pull’ system. GF120TM and four Anastrephamide concentrations were used: 2.5, 5, 10, and 20 g active ingredient (AI) per 100 L of water. Our control was spraying only water. ‘Push,’ ‘pull,’ and ‘push–pull’ approaches were tested by treating only one-half of the canopy with Anastrephamide (‘push’) or only with GF120TM (‘pull’), or one-half with Anastrephamide and the other with GF120™ (‘push–pull’ system). The ‘push–pull’ system worked well, as A. ludens ovipositions were mostly recorded in the GF120TM-treated half. Regardless of the deployment strategy, the highest reduction in A. ludens infestation was obtained with 5 g AI/hl Anastrephamide, reaching efficacies (Abbott index) of 63/65% (reduction in infested fruit) and 64/61% (reduction in mean larvae and pupae/fruit) in the ‘push’ and ‘push–pull’ approaches, respectively. Several hurdles still need to be overcome, as fly behavior is more complex than originally envisioned, and a more efficient attractant is needed to increase the power of the ‘pull’ part of the system.

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We thank Trevor Williams, Rodrigo Lasa, and Carlos Pascacio-Villafán and three anonymous referees for critical reviews to an earlier version of this publication that allowed us to produce a better quality paper. The many suggestions for improvement by the three anonymous referees are particularly appreciated and valued. We gratefully acknowledge Nicolás Jimarez, Lizbeth González-Cobos, Israel Peralta, and Olinda Velázquez for their technical support in the field and Rebeca Escamilla Navarro for drawing the picture (Fig. 1). Funding was provided by the Mexican Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACyT-FINNOVA, Project 175259), the Mexican Campaña Nacional Contra Moscas de la Fruta (Convenios SAGARPA-IICA-INECOL and SAGARPA-CONACOFI-INECOL), and the Instituto de Ecología, A.C. (INECOL).

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Correspondence to Martín Aluja.

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Andrea Birke declares that she has no conflict of interest, Silvia López-Ramírez declares that she has no conflict of interest, Ricardo Jiménez-Mendoza declares that he has no conflict of interest, Emilio Acosta declares that he has no conflict of interest, Rafael Ortega declares that he has no conflict of interest, Andrew Edmunds declares that he has no conflict of interest, and Martín Aluja also declares that he has no conflict of interest. Mention of commercial products or trade names in this paper does not imply any recommendation or endorsement by the authors.

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Birke, A., López-Ramírez, S., Jiménez-Mendoza, R. et al. Host marking pheromone and GF120TM applied in a push–pull scheme reduce grapefruit infestation by Anastrepha ludens in field-cage studies. J Pest Sci 93, 507–518 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10340-019-01155-z

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  • Biorational fruit fly management
  • Environmentally friendly control
  • Deterrent
  • Attractant
  • Insect behavior