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Development of fruit fly control strategies

| May 11, 2018

The Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) constitutes one of the key pests of citrus, being the target of many IPM programs around the Mediterranean Sea. This species has a great ability to disperse, to use alternative hosts and displays a great developmental plasticity allowing it to survive most of the year, contributing to its fast dispersal across the globe. Ceratitis capitata can develop on more than 300 plant species around the world, belonging to 67 different families (Liquido et al. 1991; Enkerlin and Mumford 1997).

Fruit fly

The Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera:Tephritidae) constitutes one of the key pests of citrus, being the target of many IPM programs.

Although medfly can live and survive on several species of cucurbits, they are considered to be very poor hosts. Some plants have been recorded as medfly hosts only under laboratory conditions and may not be attacked in the field. Knowledge of the hosts in one country often aids in correctly predicting those which are most likely to be attacked in a newly infested country, however, what may be a preferred host in one part of the world may be a poor host in another (Thomas et al. 2014). Apples (Malus pumila), avocados (Persea americana), citrus, figs (Ficus carica), kiwi fruits (Actinidia deliciosa), mangoes (Mangifera indica), medlars (Mespilus germanica), pears (Pyrus communis), Prunus spp. (especially peaches, P. persica), in fact practically all the tree fruit crops, are considered host plants and are at risk.

Medfly is one of the most destructive agricultural pests in the world (Papadopoulos et al. 2001, 2002), reducing the yield of fruit and vegetable crops and also affecting quality. Ripened fruits infested by medfly are discarded for trade. The tunnels produced by larval feeding allow the entry of secondary pathogens, which destroy the fruit, such as fungi and bacteria (Cayol et al. 1994) and produce the ripening and early drop-out of the fruit.

Control methods

Until the early 2010’s, the most common medfly control technique was the application of synthetic insecticides against adults (Chueca 2007). However, medfly control methods must be economically viable and respectful to both the environment and human health. Furthermore, Integrated Pest Management systems (IPM), which combine different methodologies to control pest species, require a reduction in the number of chemical applications as much as possible.

An innovative attract and kill device for fruit fly, Ceranock, includes a female specific attractant

Mass-trapping has proven to be a powerful weapon in the control of C. capitata. There are many traps and different attractants on the market and selecting the right one can have a high impact on the effectiveness of the technique (Navarro-Llopis et al. 2008; Escudero et al. 2009). Trap designs, including different colours and shapes, are essential to obtain a high efficacy in fruit fly capture (Navarro-Llopis et al. 2008). In addition, factors such as the crop, the climate conditions and pest population levels, influence the ability of trapping to control the pest (Peñarrubia-Maria 2010). Depending on the number of traps and attractant and kill factors, control trapping can be considered as mass-trapping, male-annihilation traps and wet or dry trapping systems.

This is an extract of the full article published in International Pest Control – January/February 2018 issue.

Read full article online on page 29

Author: Dr Nayem Hassan*, Head – Research and Development,
*Russell IPM Ltd, Unit 45 First Avenue, Deeside Industrial Park, Deeside, Flintshire, CH5 2NU, UK

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Category: Horticulture-Amenity

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