Light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), is the target of the sterile insect technique, but reduced moth fitness from irradiation lowers the effective overflooding ratio of sterile to wild moths. New measures of insect quality are being sought to improve field performance of irradiated insects, thus improving the cost effectiveness of this technique. Male pupae were irradiated at intervals between 0 and 300 Gy, and adult flight success was assessed in a wind tunnel equipped with flight track recording software. A dose response was evident with reduced successful search behaviors at higher irradiation doses. Irradiation at 250 Gy reduced arrival success to 49% of untreated controls, during 2-min assays. Mark—release—recapture of males irradiated at 250 Gy indicated reduced male moth recapture in hedgerows (75% of control values of 7.22% ± 1.20 [SEM] males recaptured) and in vineyards (78% of control values 10.5% ± 1.66% [SEM] recaptured). Males dispersed similar distances in both habitats, and overflooding ratios dropped off rapidly from the release point in both landscapes. Transects of traps with central releases proved to be an efficient method for measuring the quality of released males. Relative field performance of moths was greater than suggested by wind tunnel performance, which could be due to time differences between the two assays, two-minute wind tunnel tests compared with days in the field treatments. Release strategies involving ground releases should consider the effect of limited postrelease dispersal. Aerial release could solve this problem and warrants investigation.
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Vol. 104 • No. 4