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Application of bait spray to crop borders is a standard approach for suppression of melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera: Tephritidae) populations and may also be of value for suppression of oriental fruit fly, B. dorsalis (Hendel) populations. Establishment of preferred roosting hosts as crop borders may help to improve suppression of both fruit fly species by providing sites for bait spray applications. In an area-wide B. cucurbitae suppression trial, the question was raised as to whether cassava, Manihot esculenta Crantz (Euphorbiales: Euphorbiaceae), could be used as a B. cucurbitae roosting host. M. esculenta was of interest as a roosting host because, in contrast to many other identified preferred roosting hosts, it would also be a crop potentially increasing the productivity of the crop production system overall. As a short-lived and shrubby perennial, M. esculenta potentially constitutes a crop with more persistent roosting foliage than an annual crop such as corn, Zea mays L. (Cyperales: Poaceae), that has often been planted as a roosting host for B. cucurbitae control. Using protein-baited traps set amidst potted plants placed adjacent to a papaya Carica papaya L. (Violales: Caricaceae) orchard known to have established populations of B. cucurbitae and B. dorsalis, the effectiveness of M. esculenta as a roosting host was assessed by comparing its attractiveness to that of castor bean, Ricinus communis L (Malpighiales: Euphorbiaceae), previously identified as one of the most attractive roosting hosts for B. cucurbitae, and to corn, a crop which has been planted as a roosting host for help in B. cucurbitae control. The results showed that use of M. esculenta as a roosting host is comparable to use of R. communis by both B. cucurbitae and B. dorsalis. These results provide encouragement to incorporate M. esculenta on a farm as a trap crop (i.e. site for bait spray application). This has the advantage of having the trap crop be a crop on its own (as opposed to castor bean) and, among prospective crops that could be used as a trap crop, has foliage more persistent than an annual trap crop such as corn.
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