Ammonia and its derivatives are used by female fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) as volatile cues to locate protein-rich food needed to produce their eggs. This need for external protein sources has led to the development of behaviorally based control strategies such as food-based lures and insecticidal baits targeting pestiferous fruit fly species. In field cage studies conducted in Hawaii, we examined the behavioral response of laboratory-reared male and female Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), to seven commercially available protein baits and to beer waste, a relatively inexpensive and readily available substance. Each material was tested alone or in combination with either ammonium acetate or ammonium carbonate. For the majority of baits evaluated, the presence of ammonium acetate, but not ammonium carbonate, elicited a significantly greater level of response of female C. capitata compared with the protein baits alone. The addition of ammonium acetate to selected baits increased bait attractiveness to a level comparable with that elicited by the most widely used spinosad-based protein bait, GF-120. Our findings indicate that the addition of ammonium acetate to commercially available proteinaceous baits and to beer waste can greatly improve their attractiveness to C. capitata, potentially increasing the bait's effectiveness for fruit fly monitoring and suppression.
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Vol. 108 • No. 2