Development of Aerial Releases of Diachasmimorpha tryoni (Cameron) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a Parasitoid that Attacks the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Ceratitis capitata (Weidemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae), in the Guatemalan Highlands
Authors: Sivinski, John; Jeronimo, Felipe; Holler, Tim
A braconid parasitoid, Diachasmimorpha tryoni (Cameron), was released from the air into Guatemalan coffee plantations that contained Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata (Weidemann). Parasitoid adults were chilled, placed in paper bags, and dropped from an altitude of 100 m and at an airspeed of ~ 130 km/h. Releases were made at four different densities over a period of two years. At the higher release rates parasitism levels reached as high as 84%. The feasibility of using a more technically sophisticated aerial release technique, the auger sterile-insect release machine utilized in C. capitata sterile-fly aerial eradication projects in California and Florida, was also examined. Chilled D. tryoni either alone or in combination with chilled, sterile C. capitata, were dropped over target areas and the released parasitoids examined for mortality and damage. Samples of released parasitoids were taken and tested for 'flight ability'; i.e. flight response after an opportunity to recover from chilling. There was no evidence of significant mortality due to aerial release, and the flight-ability of insects released at various rates and altitudes did not significantly differ from chilled controls that were not released from an airplane.