Sterile Insect Release Facility th Street Sarasota, Florida. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - PDF

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Sterile Insect Release Facility th Street Sarasota, Florida Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Pupae Preparation and Eclosion The Sarasota SIRF is the first SIT operation to
Sterile Insect Release Facility th Street Sarasota, Florida Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Pupae Preparation and Eclosion The Sarasota SIRF is the first SIT operation to make full use of the new Eclosion Towers developed by the Mexican Fruit Fly Facility and Methods Development in Mission, Texas. Each tower consists of trays stacked vertically, with each tray holding approximately 25,000 flies. Nearly five towers are used per flight. That s almost 70 lbs. worth of flies, more than 5.25 million dropped every flight. New Eclosion Towers Loading and Feeding of Fly Pupae Approximately 100 million pupae are imported each week for rearing and release into one of three highrisk Preventive Release Blocks: Tampa, Miami and Sarasota/ Bradenton. Irradiated pupae are shipped five days a week from the USDA Rearing Facility in Guatemala. Flies are fed food and water using an agar/sugar-based gelatin that is placed on each tower tray. Each tower holds about 1.67 million pupae. The flies are held for 4-6 days, which allows them to reach sexual maturity prior to release. Fly Knockdown (Preparing for Flight) Towers with mature flies (4-6 days old) are moved into prechilled cold rooms and are held at 38 degrees for minutes. The cold renders the flies immobile for collection. Pupal cases and unemerged flies are vacuumed from every screen prior to fly collection. Tower screens are dumped inside of hoppers to collect the flies into the release box. Approximately lbs. of flies are collected for each flight. Once full, the release box is weighed and then rushed to the aircraft for placement onto the refrigerated release machine. Flights are set up to ensure that all flies are released within a fourhour period following the start of chilling. Methods Development and Quality Control Assessing the quality of the sterile flies is a critical component of a successful SIT program. Quality Control technicians check every shipment using a variety of internationally accepted tests, and compare the results to data from the Moscamed Rearing Facility in Guatemala, from which the flies originate. Three primary tests are used to determine the quality of the flies: emergence, flight ability and sexing. Each lot of flies received is randomly sampled and tested. The flies used in Florida since 1998 have been genetically engineered to favor the production of only male flies (app. 99.8% male). The sterilized male is the active ingredient in SIT, because they will mate with the wild females, which will then produce no offspring. Aerial Release Operations The release planes used are twinengine turbine class aircraft, with a two-person crew (pilot and fly disperser). Most of the flies are released at an altitude of 2000 feet above the ground. In some cases we modify our altitude as directed by Federal Air Traffic Controllers in release areas close to the major airports in Tampa and Miami. The aircraft fly an average of flights per week (35 hours/week). The release box is mounted inside the cargo area of the plane. There is an air conditioning compressor mounted in front of the box to keep the temperature around 38 degrees Fahrenheit which keeps the flies immobile during flight and release. Chilled flies are released through the bottom of the aircraft at a rate of at least 125,000 flies/ sq. mile or PRP. (Release rate is increased to 400,000 flies/sq. mile during eradication programs.) Aerial Mapping / GIS Data All SIT aircraft use Global Information System/GIS-generated data to record a variety of information about each flight as it occurs. This data can be reviewed and overlaid onto mapping software to chart exactly where the plane flew and details about the fly release. This map shows the paths of two flights flown in one week over Miami-Dade County. A solid line indicates when the release machine is dropping flies, and the dotted lines indicate the flight path when the machine is off. Pest Detection and Survey State and federal trappers inspect more than 56,000 fruit fly traps every year statewide. This is more than a threefold increase from trap levels in 1997/1998, when Florida last eradicated the Medfly in programs which spanned nine counties and cost roughly $32 million. Statewide, timely trapping is the cornerstone of a program designed to keep out harmful pests before they ever become established. Other improvements in our cooperative trapping program include: better, more attractive fly baits; continuing, specialized training for trappers; and increased automation of recordkeeping using GIS software. Trapping protocols and procedures are the same statewide, which lends credibility and accountability to the detection program. Fruit Fly Identification Laboratory (FFIL) / Blacklight ID The FFIL verifies sterility of all Medflies captured in some 56,000 monitoring traps statewide. After sterile Medflies are released over a PRP area, many thousands wind up in detection traps each week. Annually, between one and three million flies are submitted on 200, ,000 fruit fly traps to the FFIL. All mass-reared Medflies used in SIT are marked with a flourescent dye during irradiation, which makes them easy to spot under blacklight. Any flies found without flourescent markings are dissected for other evidence of sterility. The FFIL also collects information on sterile Medfly recaptures, allowing the program to examine its aerial release and ground monitoring and adjust as necessary to ensure optimum sterile fly coverage in release areas. History of the Sterile Insect Technique and Mediterranean Fruit Fly Preventive Release Program in Florida David Dean Supervisor, Fruit Fly Identification Laboratory, Palmetto Florida has been much involved in the development and success of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) as conceived by E. F. Knipling in 1937 (USDA Bureau of Entomology) and further developed by E. F. Knipling and A. W. Lindquist. The earliest field performance tests of SIT were conducted against the primary screwworm fly, Cochliomyia hominivorax, on Sanibel Island, Florida in Success of this test and a subsequent small-island test for the eradication of the screwworm in Curacao (170 square miles) ultimately led to the establishment of mass rearing facilities in the Avon Park - Sebring area of Florida in By 1959 the first area-wide eradication of an insect pest was completed with the elimination of the primary screwworm fly from Florida. The support of Florida Governor Collins and Florida livestock producers was critical to the success of the program. Since that historic event, SIT has been used successfully to eradicate the screwworm fly from the United States, Mexico and Central America to the isthmus of Panama and has proven to be a successful area-wide method of control for many insect pests, including the tsetse fly, fruit flies and moths. SIT is a biologically-based birth control method which has been called an autocidal pest control program. It requires the ability to mass rear large quantities of the specific pest targeted for eradication and a sustained field release of sterile males in numbers great enough to outnumber the potential for mating by wild males. Wild female insects mated with sterile males do not produce offspring. Irradiation with a specific level of gamma radiation results in sterilization of every SIT male. This low level of irradiation causes dominant lethal mutation by altering the chromosomes in the rapidly dividing reproductive cells in the ovaries and testes and has little or no effect on the normal somatic cells found in the remaining body tissue. Thus, the term sterile insect refers to one which has lost its reproductive capacity through irradiation without greatly altering its longevity and vigor. The advantages of SIT over conventional insect control methods are major and numerous. First, it is safe for the public and has no adverse impact on the environment. Second, it is biologically based and is specific only to the species targeted for control, unlike most non-selective chemical applications which cause broad indiscriminate mortality of many species of organisms. Third, it increases in efficiency as the target population decreases in size, whereas chemical control decreases in efficiency as the target population decreases; unlike chemicals, sterile males have the ability to seek out the remaining wild females over a wide area. The application of SIT has proven to be a cost-effective solution to area-wide pest control, suppression and eradication. Another successful application strategy is prevention. In areas where there is a high risk of pest invasions that can threaten food security and supply or even public health, the avoidance of the establishment of pest species is critical. Since the last eradication of Mediterranean fruit flies (Medflies) in Florida, which was declared in October 1998, sterile Medflies have been released on a preventive basis in areas historically shown to be at high risk for new introductions. This Preventive Release Program (PRP) is a proactive approach to the heightened threat of new Medfly introductions due in part to increased international trade and travel and the current high growth rate in urban areas of Florida. The current preventive sterile Medfly release program (PRP) in Florida accomplishes the following: PRP establishes a preemptive presence of sterile Medflies in high-risk areas so that they can function with maximum efficiency, while the initial introduced pest population remains small before it can build in numbers. PRP maintains an operational SIT infrastructure in place to combat any new Medfly introductions throughout the state by immediately redirecting the existing sterile fly releases to new target areas. PRP helps assure environmental and public safety during eradication efforts, since all potentially high-risk Medfly introduction areas in Florida are located in densely populated urban areas. PRP is cost-effective, since it is ultimately less expensive to take preventive measures through early detection and eradication of new introductions while they remain in small isolated areas than to conduct large eradication and control measures over extended areas and for longer duration. Fruit Fly Identification Laboratory, Palmetto FL A major role of the Fruit Fly Identification Laboratory (FFIL) is to verify sterility of all Mediterranean fruit flies captured in fruit fly monitoring traps within the state. Annually, between one and three million sterile Medflies are submitted on 200,000 to 350,000 fruit fly traps to the FFIL in Palmetto. All mass-reared Medflies used in sterile release programs are marked with a fluorescent dye at the time of irradiation, to facilitate rapid recognition of sterile release flies and wild flies. A complicating factor for any Preventive Release Program (PRP) is that sterile Medflies are equally attracted to fruit fly detection traps, which are used to detect or monitor the presence of wild Medflies. Therefore, it is necessary to verify that all Medflies captured in detection traps are indeed sterile. Any Medflies which are found without adequate fluorescent marking are dissected for evidence of irradiation damage to verify their sterility. If a suspect fly is diagnosed as a wild Medfly, maturity and evidence of mating can also be determined by dissection and microscopy. In addition, DNA from a fly specimen is often used to help establish information as to the geographic origin of an introduced wild Medfly. The FFIL also collects information on sterile Medfly recaptures within preventive release areas. This recapture data is used to monitor the performance of the Preventive Release Program. The density and distribution of sterile Medflies within preventive release areas are routinely mapped and analyzed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis, as a part of the quality assurance and management of the program. Aerial release and ground monitoring can be examined and adjusted to ensure optimum sterile fly coverage in release areas or the desired ratio of sterile flies to wild flies, in the event of an emergency eradication program. SARASOTA STERILE INSECT RELEASE FACILITY Staffing and Operations Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) Staff (1) Federal Project Leader (Statewide SIT Director) - Proposed Vacancy (1) Supervisory PPQ Officer (2) PPQ Officers (1) Admin Support Assistant (1) Senior Biological Science Technician (Methods Development) (2) Biological Science Technicians (Quality Control and MD) (1) Maintenance Worker (16) Insect Production Workers Citrus Canker Staff - Sentinel Survey (1) Supervisory PPQ Officer (1) PPQ Officer (1) Data Entry Clerk/Secretary (6) PPQ Domestic Technicians Exotic Pest Survey Staff - New Domestic Survey Initiative (1) Supervisory PPQ Officer (1) PPQ Officer SARASOTA STERILE INSECT RELEASE FACILITY Budget and Expenses MAJOR SIT EXPENSES Overall Federal Allocation for FY $2.4 million (supports eight months of operations) Required Federal Allocation - $3.4 million for full year of operations Staffing - 24 staff years - approximately $900,000 Services - Aerial Release Contract - $465 per flight hour - 35 hours/ week = $846,000 Supplies - Sterile Pupae - $275/million 100 million pupae/ week = $1,430,000 Rent/Utilities - $174,000 per year; $3,000/month = $210,0000
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