Improved Field Performance of Sterile Male Lepidoptera to Ensure Success in SIT Programmes

Objective:

Lepidoptera are key pests that require control to avoid significant losses in many cropping systems worldwide. The sterile insect technique (SIT) has been used successfully against a number of moth species, but despite successes, the wider development and deployment of SIT has important issues that need further investigation. Optimal quality of the released sterile males is a prerequisite for success in SIT programs, and insect quality can be badly degraded during many processes involved with the mass-rearing and release of sterile insects.

The CRP will address important processes that need to be improved and tied to field performance of the insects. These would include:

  • improved rearing and maintenance of colonies based on selection for favourable behaviours
  • better collection and irradiation methods to enhance results
  • the application of two-sex or male-only release strategies
  • improved handling, transport and release methods
  • practical and effective methods for quality assessment
  • better deployment strategies to improve cost effectiveness and outcomes.

This objective will be met by:

  • Determining the impact of different rearing parameters and behavioural traits that have an impact on competitiveness of sterile moths, by correlation of laboratory and semi-field and open-field performance
  • Determining the impact of adult and pupal collection and irradiation methods on field competitiveness
  • Determining the effect of sterile females on population suppression
  • Determining best practice methods of handling, transporting and releasing sterile moths to maintain field competitiveness
  • Determining the relative effectiveness of different methods for quality assessment and performance of sterile and wild moths
  • Developing best practice deployment of sterile insects in relation to hotspots, taking into account moth competitiveness and field performance.

Participants:

Twenty one participants, from Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, China, Guatemala, India, Israel, Mauritius, New Zeeland, Syrian Arab Republic, South Africa, Tunisia, United States of America.

Reports:

  • Report of the First Research Coordination Meeting [pdf], Durban, South Africa, September 2016.

Project Officer:

Marc Vreysen