Boll Weevil: Chemosterilization by Fumigation and Dipping

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A procedure suitable for sterilizing both sexes of Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman on a large scale was developed. First, the weevils were fumigated with bisazir (P,P-bis(1-aziridinyl)-N-methylphosphinothioic amide, AI3-61585) at atmospheric pressure for 90 min, and 30 min later, they were dipped for 5 sec into a 1.35% solution of penfluron (2,6-difluoro-N-[[[4-(trifluoromethyl) phenyl]amino]carbonyl]benzamide, AI3-63223) in acetone. In either sex, the sterility exceeded 99%, and 59.3% of the treated males survived 10 days posttreatment. A new laboratory-size fumigation chamber with a rotating bisazir-treated paddle was designed and scaled up to a field-size chamber suitable for treating up to 200,000 weevils at a time. Monitoring of the sterilizing treatment consisted of measuring the concentration of bisazir vapors during the fumigation and analyzing the treated weevils for residues of bisazir and penfluron. One day posttreatment, no residues of bisazir or of its aziridinyl metabolite could be detected in the treated weevils, but penfluron residues decreased only slowly from 39 to 8.8 g/weevil within 7 days. Oviposition of untreated females mated to treated males was decreased; also, treated males were less effective than untreated ones in transferring sperm. On the other hand, when various ratios of treated and untreated males were combined with untreated females, the treated males appeared more competitive because they suppressed reproduction more effectively than their proportional number would warrant. The development of the new sterilizing procedure now makes it possible to test the performance of chemosterilized weevils in large field tests.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1978

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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