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New World screwworm flies, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel), are obligate parasites of warm-blooded animals. They were eradicated from North and Central America during the mid-20th to early-21st centuries using the sterile insect technique (SIT), a method presently employed to maintain a permanent barrier between Central and South America. Lures are an important component of the screwworm eradication program, where they are used for surveillance, sample collection, and strain evaluation in the field. The first chemical lure, later named swormlure, was developed based on the attractiveness of C. hominivorax to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced from decomposing animal tissues. The formulation has changed little over the years and presently contains 10 chemicals, one of which is dimethyl disulfide (DMDS). Restrictions on the transport of DMDS have recently impeded its use in swormlure-4 (SL-4). However, dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS) is not as highly restricted and can be shipped via air transportation. Both chemicals are produced by microbial decomposition of animal tissues. Here, we conducted field trials using three releases of sterile C. hominivorax, each comprising approximately 93,000 flies, to test the efficacy of SL-4, containing DMDS, to swormlure-5 (SL-5) containing DMTS. Traps baited with SL-4 and SL-5 captured 575 (mean = 191.7, SD 17.9) and 665 (mean = 221.7, SD 33.2) C. hominivorax, respectively (df = 19, F = 1.294, P = 0.269). However, traps baited with SL-5 captured considerably more Cochliomyia macellaria (Fabricius), a closely related but nontarget fly. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2023.


Paul V Hickner, Lucas Pacheco, Sara E Duke, Carlos Sanchez Ortiz, John B Welch, Pamela L Phillips, Alex P Arp. A new formulation of screwworm fly attractant with reduced hazardous chemicals and transport restrictions. Journal of medical entomology. 2023 Jul 12;60(4):631-636

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PMID: 37079723

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