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Luring houseflies (Musca domestica) to traps: do cuticular hydrocarbons and visual cues increase catch?

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posted on 2023-06-08, 18:58 authored by M E Hanley, K L Cruickshanks, D Dunn, A Stewart-Jones, Dave GoulsonDave Goulson
Houseflies (Musca domestica L.) are a major pest species of livestock units and landfill sites. Insecticide resistance has resulted in an increased emphasis on lure-and-kill control methods, but the success of this approach relies on the effective attraction of houseflies with olfactory or visual stimuli. This study examined the efficacy of olfactory (cuticular hydrocarbons) or visual (colours and groups of flies) attractants in a commercial poultry unit. Despite simulating the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of male and female houseflies, we found no significant increase in the number of individuals lured to traps and no sex-specific responses were evident. The use of target colours selected to match the three peaks in housefly visual spectral sensitivity yielded no significant increase in the catch rate of traps to which they were applied. This study also demonstrated that male and female flies possess significantly different spectral reflectance (males are brighter at 320-470 nm; females are brighter at 470-670 nm). An experiment incorporating groups of recently killed flies from which cuticular hydrocarbons were either removed by solvent or left intact also failed to show any evidence of olfactory or visual attraction for houseflies of either sex. This study concluded that variations of the most commonly applied methods of luring houseflies to traps in commercial livestock units fail to significantly increase capture rates. These results support commonly observed inconsistencies associated with using olfactory or visual stimuli in lure-and-kill systems, possibly because field conditions lessen the attractant properties observed in laboratory experiments. © 2008 The Royal Entomological Society.


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Medical and Veterinary Entomology









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  • Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications

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