Exploration of the potential of a boosted sterile insect technique to control fruit flies in mango orchards

Esther Gnilane Diouf, Thierry Brévault, Saliou Ndiaye, Cyril Piou,  Pest Management Science,  2024.
An innovative version of the sterile insect technique (SIT) for pest control, called boosted SIT, relies on the use of sterile males coated with a biocide to control a target wild pest population of the same species. The objective of the present study was to assess the relevance of such technology to control the fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis and fruit losses in mango orchards using. An agent-based simulation model named BOOSTIT was used to explore the reduction of fruit losses thank to sterile male fruit flies control and economic benefits according to different strategies of sterile male release. The simulation considered a landscape of 30.25 ha made up of four mango orchards.The SIT and the boosted SIT reduced fruit losses when releases were made before the mango fruiting period. According to model simulations, releases should be performed at least seven times at 2-week intervals and with a sterile/wild male ratio of at least 10:1. Considering the benefit/cost ratio (BCR), few releases should be done with a late start date. The BCR showed economic gains from the two control methods, the number of saved fruits and BCR being higher for SIT. Our simulations showed that SIT would have better results than the boosted SIT to contribute to an effective control of Bactrocera dorsalis at the scale of a small landscape. We highlight the need for laboratory studies of other types of pathogen to find a suitable one with higher incubation time and lower cost.

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