The sterile insect technique has been routinely used to eradicate fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) incursions. This study considers whether fly quality in a mass-rearing facility can be improved by reducing irradiation doses, without sacrificing reproductive sterility. Pupae were exposed to one of five target irradiation dose ranges: 0, 40–45, 50–55, 60–65, and 70–75 Gy. Pupae were then assessed using routine quality control measures: flight ability, sex ratio, longevity under nutritional stress, emergence, and reproductive sterility. Irradiation did not have a significant effect on flight ability or sex ratio tests. Longevity under nutritional stress was significantly increased at 70–75 Gy, but no other doses differed from 0 Gy. Emergence was slightly reduced in the 50–55,60–65, and 70 -75 Gy treatments, but 40–45 Gy treatments did not differ from 0 Gy, though confounding temporal factors complicate interpretation. Reproductive sterility remained acceptable (>99.5%) for all doses—40–45 Gy (99.78%), 50–55 Gy (100%), 60–65 Gy (100%), and 70–75 Gy (99.99%). We recommend that B. tryoni used in sterile insect technique releases be irradiated at a target dose of 50–55 Gy, providing improved quality and undiminished sterility in comparison with the current 70–75 Gy standard while also providing a substantial buffer against risk of under dosing.
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Vol. 107 • No. 3