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04 2008 Yuma


E Miller, USDA ppt



Rearing Facility

























































































Pink Bollworm Eradication Program -

Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)


          There are many steps involved with the Sterile Insect Technology SIT program.  Dr. Robert Staten retired as the Director of the USDA APHIS program in Phoenix in January of 2006.  He spent several years of his extensive career developing and refining this process.  It is an international program, and the Pink Bollworm Rearing Facility has shipped billions of moths during the course of it's existence to Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, California and Mexico. 

          The Arizona Pink Bollworm Eradication was broken down into three areas.  By statute, Arizona works on a four-year timeline.  The first area [central and eastern counties] started in 2006.  Arizona was the only location to fly seven days a week.  By the end of 2006, over 1.7 billion sterile pink bollworm moths had been released over Arizona cotton fields.  In 2007, the River Counties [LaPaz and Mohave] came into the program.  In 2008, Yuma County was included as well.  Central and Eastern Arizona have completed their final year in 2009, and LaPaz and Mohave in 2010 respectively.  You can view actual trap catches, Bt vs. non-Bt, and other statistical data in the Pink Bollworm section of the web site.

          New Mexico has completed their Pink Bollworm Eradication Program.  Texas, California and Mexico are currently running Pink Bollworm Eradication Programs.  You can view some of their information on the NCC section of our web site.

Pink Bollworm sterile moths are delivered daily by van out to the airstrip.  SIT planes must conform to special modifications as outlined in the contract to be used on the Pink Bollworm SIT program.  Click on any of the thumbnails below for a larger image.

One of the planes used in the program sitting in the hangar at the Coolidge Airport.

Still in the hangar....

The van arrived loaded with moths. They are picked up from the PHX PBW Rearing Facility and delivered each morning.

The moth trays are inside an insulated red box to keep the moths cool during transport.

Here is Michelle Walters, USDA, taking a tray of moths out of the box.

The "freeze sticks" are removed prior to loading the tray into the plane.

Here goes the moth tray into the plane.

The bottom tray is slid out to release the moths (so they will fall into the auger).

.....still loading the moths.

There you can see the tray loaded into the SIT equipment inside the plane.

.... another view of loaded moths.

The moths are ready to go.

Here is one of the pilots reviewing a map before the flight.

Here is the GPS equipment located in the cockpit of the plane.

The screen shows an outline of the cotton fields. Non-Bt fields are outlined in a different color.

Here is a view of the cockpit.

Here is the drop / exit tube coming out of the bottom of the plane. This is where the moths come out of the plane.

.... one last check.

The plane is getting ready for take off.

....heading toward the runway.

There it goes.

.....off to drop the moths.

You can see some of the moths falling out of the auger.

Here it comes toward the hangar.

The plane lands after it's run.

Michelle Walters is removing the used tray.

Here is a side view of a clean pink bollworm moth tray.

You can see how dirty it is after the flight with a load of pink bollworm scales.

The tray is set off to the side for cleaning.

We use a shop vac to remove the scales.

Here is what the auger looks like after a flight.

The equipment inside of the plane is cleaned as well.

Here is a good picture of the type of equipment needed in the pink bollworm sterile moth releases.

This page was modified 02/15/2011

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