We compared the field competitiveness of sterile codling moth, Cydia pomonella (L.), males mass-reared through diapause or standard production protocols and treated with either 150 or 250 Gy of gamma radiation. Evaluations were performed during spring and summer 2003 by using field release–recapture tests. Released males were recaptured using traps baited with synthetic pheromone or with virgin females. In addition, mating tables baited with virgin females were used in the summer to assess the mating competitiveness of the released moths. Field performance of released males was significantly improved by rearing through diapause and by lowering the dose of radiation used to treat the insects. These effects were observed during spring when evening temperatures were relatively cool and in summer when evening temperatures were high. These effects were observed regardless of the sampling method (i.e., capture in pheromone-baited traps, virgin female-baited traps, or in mating tables). There were significant interactions between larval rearing strategy and radiation dose with respect to day of recapture. The effect of rearing strategy on male performance was observed immediately after release, whereas the effect of dose of radiation was usually delayed by 2–3 d. In general, the best treatment for improving codling moth male field performance was a combination of rearing through diapause and using a low dose of radiation (150 Gy). The difference in performance when insects were treated with 150 or 250 Gy was greater when males had been reared using standard (nondiapause) rearing protocols, suggesting that diapause rearing may attenuate some of the negative effects of the higher doses of radiation.
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