The efficacy of photo active dyes as insecticides depends on the ingestion of the dye by the target insect and the activity of the dye at sensitive sites or on essential chemical functions. The site of this activity in insects is not understood, but we have found that certain chemical additives enhance the toxicity of phloxine B in the Mexican fruit fly. A series of tests with commercial adjuvants was performed under laboratory conditions that demonstrated a multifold decrease in the LD50 of phloxine B concentration and a decrease in the time required for photodynamic action to kill the flies. A total of 22 commercial adjuvants was tested. Of these, six were selected for evaluation under field cage conditions in comparison with a non-insecticide control bait (no treatment) and a phloxine B check bait with no adjuvant. Mortality was estimated by counting dead flies, feeding was estimated by fly counts at feeding stations, survival was estimated by trapping flies after the treatment period. In all cases the adjuvants increased the rate of mortality and decreased numbers surviving the treatment. Significant differences between adjuvants and both check and control were observed for mortality rates and the three best adjuvants, SM-9, Kinetic, and Tween60, induced significantly more mortality than the other adjuvants, the control, or the check. Feeding rates and survival rates indicated that the adjuvants increase the effectiveness of phloxine B in a predictable manner. The adjuvants appear to be active inside the insect rather than increasing the solubility of the dye in the bait medium. We propose that the addition of 1% vol:vol of the best adjuvant, Tween60 to the proteinaceous bait with 0.5% phloxine B will enhance toxicity as well as improve mixing and other characteristics of the bait.
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Vol. 94 • No. 1