Powders that adhere to insect cuticle can be used as carrier particles for synthetic insecticides, entomopathogens, or pheromones in insect control systems, and insects can be lured into contact with such powder mixtures by using attractants. Secondary transfer of adhesive powders to conspecifics during social interactions has been reported; however, this transfer relies on insects leaving the source of powder and continuing normal behavior when contaminated. We examined the ability of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata Wiedemann (Diptera: Tephritidae), to fly and mate after being contaminated with one of two adhesive powders: an electrostatic wax powder, Entostat, and a proprietary metallic powder, Entomag. During continuous observations for 1 h in a flight tunnel, male C. capitata made significantly more flights than females. Treating C. capitata with either powder significantly suppressed the flight activity of male C. capitata compared with untreated controls, whereas powder treatment had a negligible effect on female flight activity. Within 1 h, male C. capitata treated with Entomag recovered normal flight activity, but Entostat-treated males were not fully recovered. Virgin male C. capitata treated with either Entostat or Entomag were able to mate with virgin female C. capitata, but the onset of mating was delayed compared with control C. capitata by ≈1 h. Even though the effect of powder uptake on behavior seemed to be temporary, scanning electron micrograph images of treated C. capitata showed that both powders were retained for >24 h on most body parts. The adhesive powders showed potential for use as carrier particles for pesticides, entomopathogens, or pheromones in novel C. capitata control systems.
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Vol. 99 • No. 4