Gravid screwworm flies, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel), are attracted to the volatiles from waste larval rearing media to deposit eggs. Studies were conducted to identify volatile chemicals from the waste larval media and determine their effectiveness to attract gravid flies to oviposit. Volatiles were collected using solid-phase microextraction method, and five active chemicals, namely, dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl trisulfide, phenol, p-cresol, and indole, were identified using gas chromatography—mass spectrometry. In electroantennography studies, antennae of gravid screwworm flies, Cochliomyia macellaria (F.), responded positively to each of the identified compounds. A synthetic blend of these five compounds in the ratio of 335:200:57:1:12 was prepared and tested for its effectiveness to attract both C. hominivorax and C. macellaria using laboratory bioassay methods. Significantly more gravid C. macellaria were attracted to and landed on substrates treated with 10-fold diluted blends compared with those landed on substrates treated with ethanol only (as control). Only a few young females and young and old males were attracted to the substrates treated with the synthetic blend. The C. hominivorax females laid significantly more eggs on substrates treated with waste media, 10-fold diluted blend, and 100-fold diluted blend than on substrates with undiluted blend or ethanol. Similarly, C. macellaria deposited significantly more eggs on substrates treated with waste media, 10-fold diluted blend, and 100-fold diluted blend compared with substrates with undiluted blend or ethanol. C. macellaria females deposited significantly less amount of eggs than did C. hominivorax females. These results indicate that the synthetic blend of five compounds identified may serve as an oviposition attractant for C. hominivorax as well as for C. macellaria.
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Vol. 51 • No. 3