Dynamics of pH Modification of an Acidic Protein Bait Used for Tropical Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae)

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Abstract:

Several species of Anastrepha and Bactrocera fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) are captured in traps baited with the protein bait NuLure combined with borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) in an aqueous solution, typically 9% NuLure (vol:vol) with 3% borax (wt:vol). NuLure is an acid hydrolysate of corn and has an acidic pH. Addition of borax makes the solution more alkaline, and increase in alkalinity results in increase of ammonia release from the bait solution. This is a very dynamic system, with resultant pH affected by factors such as the amount of borax added, the pH of the water used for preparation, the age of the bait solution, and the development of microbial growth. Problems with borax include amount needed to increase alkalinity of NuLure solutions, which creates difficulties in disposing of spent bait in fruit fly trapping programs. Therefore, research was conducted to evaluate NaOH as an alternative method to increase alkalinity of NuLure solutions. Laboratory experiments compared effect of NaOH versus borax for pH modification on changes in pH and ammonia content of NuLure solutions over time. Although NuLure/NaOH solutions could be adjusted to a more alkaline pH than NuLure/borax solutions, borax plays a critical role in pH stability over time. However, the pH of NuLure/NaOH is stabilized when propylene glycol (10% vol:vol) was used to prepare the bait solution. The use of NaOH can provide an alternative to the use of borax to increase bait solution alkalinity.

Keywords: Anastrepha; Bactrocera; NuLure; borax; fruit fly attractants

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • 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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