Sugar is the main source of energy for the daily activities of sand flies. Considering its importance, there is surprisingly little information on sugar meal specific sources and sand fly attraction to plants, particularly in the field. In this study, we first needed to develop an effective sand fly trap that would be suitable for mass screening of potentially attractive flowering plants. Next, we used this trap to screen a total of 56 different flowering plant species and five plant species soiled with different types of honeydew. The plant baited traps together caught 21,978 P. papatasi. Out of the 56 types of flowering plants which were tested, 13 were shown to bait significantly more female sand flies, and 11 baited more male sand flies than the control. Based on an attraction index, the top three attractive plants in this study were the flowering plants Ochradenus baccatus, Prosopis farcta, and Tamirix nilotica. We believe that plants and phyto-chemicals have untapped potentials to attract sand flies. These could be used for control and, in combination with simple glue traps, as an alternative for existing monitoring systems.
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