Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (“Q-fly”), is Australia’s most economically important insect pest of horticultural and commercial crops especially in the eastern regions. The sterile insect technique (SIT) has been adopted as an environmentally benign and sustainable approach for management of Q-fly outbreaks. High-performance larval diets are required to produce the millions of flies needed each week for SIT. Yeast products contribute amino acids (protein) to fruit fly larval diets, as well as carbohydrate, fat and micronutrients, but there can be substantial variation in the nutritional composition and suitability of yeast products for use in larval diets. Gel larval diets have recently been developed for large-scale rearing of Q-fly for SIT, and composition of these diets requires optimization for both performance and cost, including choice of yeast products. We assessed performance of Q-flies reared on gel larval diets that contained debittered brewer’s yeast (Lallemand LBI2240), hydrolysed yeast (Lallemand FNILS65), inactivated brewer’s yeast (Lallemand LBI2250) and inactivated torula yeast (Lallemand 2160-50), including blends. Q-flies performed poorly when reared on diets containing only or mostly hydrolysed yeast in terms of pupal number, pupal weight and percentage of fliers. Performance was also poor on diets containing high proportions of torula yeast. Overall, debittered brewer’s yeast is recommended as the best option for Q-fly gel larval diet, as it is cheap, readily available, and produces flies with good performance in quality control assays. Inactivated brewer’s yeast produced flies of comparable quality with only a modest increase in cost and would also serve as an effective alternative.
- mass rearing
- sterile insect technique