The mating behavior of sterile, laboratory-reared, male Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), was evaluated in field-cage mating competition tests with wild flies after exposing the laboratory males to ginger root oil extract. Without exposure to ginger root oil, sterile males obtained 12.6%, 69.0%, and 72.8% of the total matings with wild females when present in 1:1, 5:1, and 10:1 ratios of sterile males to wild males, respectively. Sterile males, exposed to ginger root oil for 3 h, 1 d before mating trials, in a 1:1 ratio with wild males, achieved 62.3% of the matings with wild females. These data suggest that exposure to ginger oil can elevate sterile male mating competitiveness to a similar degree as elevated ratios of sterile to wild males. Incorporating the use of ginger root oil extract into sterile release programs may thus increase the effectiveness of the sterile insect technique, and/or allow a reduction in the number of sterile flies that are released.
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