Increasing the Efficiency of Lepidoptera SIT Through Enhanced Quality Control


Pest species of Lepidoptera such as codling moth, diamondback moth, oriental fruit moth, grapevine moth, cotton bollworms, and pink bollworm are among the most damaging species of food and fibre crops in the world. These pests are the target of huge quantities of broad-spectrum insecticides in developed and developing countries. The economic, social and environmental consequences of these insecticide interventions are immense, and hence, are unsustainable. In addition, global increases in trade and travel have resulted in an increase in the rate of invasion of lepidopteran pest species, which threaten agricultural systems, markets, communities, and biodiversity on a worldwide basis. There is broad international consensus that intervention campaigns against such pests should be based on the area-wide concept of integrated pest management (AW-IPM), i.e. the management of entire pest populations within a delimited geographical area.

The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a very efficient control tactic for creating pest-free areas or areas of low pest prevalence within such AW-IPM programmes. A previous CRP on Lepidoptera SIT focused on improvements of codling moth SIT to facilitate its' expansion in the field. Further development of the SIT to target other key lepidopteran pests requires improvements that increase the quality control of mass-rearing, irradiation, shipping, release and field assessment activities.

This CRP will contributed to the development and use of improved quality control/management systems for all aspects of the SIT by (1) identifying and characterizing factors and variables that affect quality and field performance of released moths, (2) developing and improving tools and methods to assess, predict and enhance the field performance of released moths based on insect quality, (3) developing new and improved methods for enhancing rearing systems, facilitating the selection for performance or fitness traits that improve colony establishment, refurbishment and production, as well as the field performance of released moths.


Thirteen participating countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, China, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Syria, South Africa, Tunisia, and USA.