Releasing millions of sterile insects to interfere with a wild pest population won’t work if irradiating the insects also hinders their flight capacity. A new study shows this may be the case with navel orangeworm moths (Amyelois transitella), and further fine-tuning will be necessary to build a successful sterile insect technique operation to manage the pest.
Collaboration and a combination of transgenic cotton and sterile insect releases helped to eradicate the invasive pink bollworm.
A study of two significant pest fruit fly species finds that the size of males influences female mating choice in one of the species, but not in the other—important knowledge for fine-tuning management efforts for both species via the sterile insect technique.
Sometimes, less is more. Case in point: the mass-rearing program that produces millions of sterile Mexican fruit flies (Anastrepha ludens) for managing wild populations. Scientists refining the effort find that a lower ratio of males to females in mating cages leads to higher fecundity and fertility in the females—and higher cost-effectiveness for the operation.
Several emerging mosquito-management methods require the transport of mosquitoes to precise locations. There, lab-reared mosquitoes—for instance, sterilized males—mix with wild mosquitoes and hinder the population's ability to reproduce or transmit disease. But, getting mosquitoes from lab to wild presents logistical challenges. A team led by researchers at New Mexico State University are tackling this problem and have made a surprising discovery about just how tightly live mosquitoes can be packed up.