Farm-wide fruit fly management systems for the east coast of Australia (MT12050)

Farm-wide fruit fly management systems for the east coast of Australia (MT12050)

Key research provider: The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Publication date: Thursday, January 21, 2016


What was it all about?

With chemical options for fruit fly management now substantially reduced, growers require alternative control methods.

This project evaluated a farm-wide management system to control Queensland fruit fly on mango farms, which included the use of protein baiting, male fruit fly annihilation and packhouse grading.

The research team held a workshop for potential grower participants in 2013, covering what was involved in area wide management, how it works and how it has been used successfully in other areas. Four farms took part in the trial, one at Bowen, two at Dimbulah and one at Mutchilba over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Research and development was undertaken along the way to support the use of area wide management. In particular, research was needed to find out more about using attractants (lures and baits) in mango crops, which are known to be sensitive to protein baits. Researchers sought to test other baits that won’t damage mango skin.

Overseas, protein bait sprays on vegetation around the perimeter of the crop has been shown to effectively control melon fly so the method was tested around mango orchards.

Several male annihilation technique devices were evaluated, and researchers also set up small-scale trials with vegetables.

At one of the farms, the technique proved successful, demonstrating that the right farm-wide management system can be protective against fruit fly. Fruit fly populations were reduced and fruit fly damage was limited to just four fruits that had previous skin damage.

Evaluation of protein baits showed that all caused unacceptable blemish to skins. A prototype protein bait trunk applicator was designed but tree training is required so that the applicator isn’t blocked by overhanging fruit.

Several proteins and toxicants for adding to protein baits were trialled with vegetable plots. Four of the seventeen protein baits were shown to be most attractive to cucumber fly as well as Queensland fruit fly. Spinetoram, fipronil, clothianidin and abamectin were as effective as protein bait toxicant.

The research team recommends that protein bait stations and male annihilation be further developed to increase effectiveness for mango growers.

The results of the small scale perimeter baiting studies indicate that this method of control for fruit flies in vegetable crops is possible, but again, researchers have called for further research into different models of perimeter baiting systems, and studies in large field plots.

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