Previous research showed that exposure to ginger root, Zingiber officinale Roscoe, oil increased the mating success of mass-reared, sterile males of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann). This work, however, involved the exposure of small groups of males (n = 25) in small containers (volume 400 ml). Several sterile male release programs use plastic adult rearing containers (so-called PARC boxes; hereafter termed storage boxes; 0.48 by 0.60 by 0.33 m) to hold mature pupae and newly emerged adults before release (≈36,000 flies per box). The objective of the current study was to determine whether the application of ginger root oil to individual storage boxes increases the mating competitiveness of sterile C. capitata males. Irradiated pupae were placed in storage boxes 2 d before adult emergence, and in the initial experiment (adult exposure) ginger root oil was applied 5 d later (i.e., 3 d after peak adult emergence) for 24 h at doses of 0.0625, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 ml. In a second experiment (pupal-adult exposure), ginger root oil was applied to storage boxes immediately after pupal placement and left for 6 d (i.e., 4 d after peak adult emergence) at doses of 0.25 and 1.0 ml. Using field cages, we conducted mating trials in which ginger root oil-exposed (treated) or nonexposed (control) sterile males competed against wild-like males for copulations with wild-like females. After adult exposure, treated males had significantly higher mating success than control males for all doses of ginger root oil, except 2.0 ml. After pupal-adult exposure, treated males had a significantly higher mating success than control males for the 1.0-ml but not the 0.25-ml dose of ginger root oil. The results suggest that ginger root oil can be used in conjunction with prerelease, storage boxes to increase the effectiveness of sterile insect release programs.
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Vol. 97 • No. 3