An international team of researchers have found a promising technique for pest control for pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii.

Pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii, is “an economically significant crop pest in North America,” according to a Growing Produce article. The article shared information about a new technique for pest control for pepper weevil, a sterile insect technique. See the details below.

Details of The Pest Control for Pepper Weevil

The article shared details of the research “on the use of gamma irradiation as a sterilization technique to improve the sustainability and effectiveness of pepper weevil management worldwide.”

Finding an effective pest control pepper weevil has been a challenge. Roselyne Labbe, Greenhouse Entomologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canada, and corresponding author of the study, explained in the article “‘In prior research, we found that few conventional, reduced-risk or microbial pesticides could effectively knock down adult populations of the pepper weevil on greenhouse pepper crops. Even assessments of parasitoids (insects which can be used to biologically control pest populations) that attack larval stages of the pepper weevil had limitations, as they sometimes had trouble accessing hosts deep within the pepper fruit cavity.’

The team has been testing the “sterile insect technique (SIT), a genetic control method where large numbers of sterile insects are released into the wild to reduce the reproductive success of the pest.” The study found that “An analysis of the effects of different gamma radiation doses on A. eugenii pupae revealed that irradiation of both males and females at 110 Gy resulted in completely sterile individuals that could not contribute to offspring production if released in field sites.”

The article shared that “the lifespan of the irradiated beetles at this dosage was reduced to under two weeks and therefore recommended that A. eugenii SIT programs should schedule repeated releases of sterile insects no more than two weeks apart, to compensate for their mortality.”

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