Sterile Insect Technique as a Novel Tool for the Management of Pepper Weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), in Greenhouse and Field Pepper Crops
The sterile insect technique (SIT) has been effectively used to genetically manage and even eradicate pest species across several insect families worldwide. The pepper weevil (PW), Anthonomus eugenii Cano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), is an economically significant pest of Capsicum crops in North America for which current management strategies are often insufficient. As a PW-SIT program has yet to be considered, this foundational research determined that a gamma radiation dose of 110 Gy applied to PW pupae was necessary to induce > 99% sterility in females, and > 97% sterility in males, though the longevity, spontaneous flight activity, sperm production, and mating competitiveness of the sterile adults were negatively impacted by the treatment. Based on this work, a PW-SIT program could effectively and sustainably manage total PW populations in field or greenhouse pepper crops, and further research is recommended to ensure its success.