The effect of releases of bisexual (males and female) and unisexual (male only) sterilized medflies was compared in three large field evaluations over a 3-yr period (1995–1997) in southwestern Guatemala. The two strains tested were a genetic sexing strain, Vienna-4/Tol-94, carrying the temperature sensitive tsl gene to eliminate females in the egg stage, and the standard bisexual Petapa strain. Flies were mass-reared, sterilized by irradiation as pupae, shipped to a field center, and released by air as young adults over 2 km by 2 km core areas in the centers of separate 6 km by 6 km test plots. Strain performance was monitored weekly by trapping sterile and wild male adults in core and buffer areas and by collecting eggs from coffee berries to determine induced sterility. Results indicated a several-fold advantage for the males-only strain as measured by the level of induced sterility, especially at the very high release ratios of 100:1 recorded in 1997. During that final test year, sterile-fly release rates were increased to provide high sterile:wild (S:W) fly ratios in the field, and egg sterility reached levels in excess of 70% in plots were the male-only strain was used. However, in the plots where the bisexual strain was released, induced sterility only reached 12% despite S:W ratios above 1,000:1.
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Vol. 97 • No. 5