The sterile insect technique (SIT) is used to control wild Mediterranean fruit fly introductions in California and Florida in the U.S. In the past, bait sprays containing malathion proved invaluable in treating new outbreaks or large populations before the use of SIT. Recently, a spinosad protein bait spray, GF-120, has been developed as a possible alternative to malathion, the standard insecticide in protein bait sprays. In this study, protein-deficient and protein-fed Vienna-7 (sterile, mass-reared, “male-only” strain) flies and wild males and females were evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the GF-120 protein bait containing spinosad with respect to bait attraction, feeding, and toxicology. There were no effects of diet or fly type on feeding duration in small laboratory cages. Wild flies, however, registered more feeding events than Vienna-7 males. Flies that fed longer on fresh bait died faster. Protein-deficient flies were more active and found the bait more often than protein-fed flies. Data suggest that adding protein to the diet of SIT flies may decrease their response to baits, therefore, reduce mortality, and thus, allow the concurrent use of SIT and bait sprays in a management or eradication program.
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Vol. 96 • No. 5