Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

“Booby-trapping” as an Alternative to Sterile Males for Insect Control


ATTEMPTS are now being made to apply to other pests the sterile male technique, so successful in the suppression of the screw-worm fly Cochliomyia hominivorax in the southern United States. There is, however, a need to devise similar methods which may be even more appropriate in particular cases. One such method which is similar to, but simpler than, the “booby-trapping” method of Morgan1 was suggested as a result of experiments with the Australian sheep blowfly, Lucilia cuprina. Female flies, resistant to dieldrin, which survived 0.5 µl. of 2 per cent dieldrin dissolved in kerosene and di-isobutyl ketone (1 : 1) applied topically to the thorax, were exposed to males from a susceptible strain (LD50< 0.005 per cent dieldrin). Each female killed up to one hundred males through contact during attempted mating. Treated resistant males were capable of killing susceptible females, but the effect was of a lower order of magnitude.


  1. Morgan, P. B., J. Econ. Entomol., 60, 612 (1967).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Crow, J. F., Ann. Rev. Entomol., 2 (1957).

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

WHITTEN, M., NORRIS, K. “Booby-trapping” as an Alternative to Sterile Males for Insect Control. Nature 216, 1136 (1967).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing