The targeting of the male population of certain pests is at the forefront of the US Department of Agriculture's fight against the pesky insect populations that afflict man, plants and animals. In an end of year review, the U.S. government via the Agricultural department stated that among the means of eliminating the males, a potent attractant was employed.

The potency of this new strategy was highlighted by the tests in which agency entomologists were able to eradicate oriental fruit flies in a small island setting near the US territory of Guam. Principally to demonstrate the advantages of using the chemical on the insects, this experiment was carried on. The male oriental fruit flies were inescapably drawn to this laboratory created chemical compound, known as methyl eugenol, which was strategically placed a comfortable distance from crops. Naturally, by removing the males there was no further reproduction in the species and it eventually was removed over the generation.

The Department of Agriculture has said that these recent experiments conducted to find what chemicals female insects use to attract the male members of their species has shown several promising new chemicals that could be used. Some other insects that used these chemicals were cabbage loppers, lesser peach borers, and female houseflies. These chemicals, known as chemo-sterilants, prevent insects from reproducing, which, as evidenced in the study, provides the initial component in eradicating pests through male insect lures.

Scientists continue to look at the attractants so that they can copy the compounds to be sold for a less expensive price. Chemo-sterilization is a method of pest extermination that has provided encouraging results. It was earlier tests involving a variety of insects including boll weevils and houseflies, when this substance first was recognized as a prospective insect elimination method.

Male screwworm flies are being sterilized with the use of gamma radiation in an attempt to eradicate the pest from the southwest. This method, used a few years back, proved highly effective in eradicating this harmful pest. The theory behind the screwworm eradication was the sterilize the males in the lab and then release them to mate as usual. The females only mate once, and after having mated with sterile males, they made eggs that did not hatch.

The Department of Agriculture believes that they may have found a strategy that will allow them to put the clamps on troublesome crop related pests. Scientists have succeeded in extracting a natural attractant out of the male weevils, and they have extracted a cotton plant substance which repels weevils too. Several years ago, crop production investments worth millions, were insured and protected by the federal crop insurance program. The federal government reports that this is figure is the highest amount insured in many years. The agency said that several hundred thousand crops spanning millions of acres in the country were federally insured to protect against natural disasters.

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