Brazil’s Fundecitrus recently pointed out that fruit flies, along with citrus fruit borers, are primarily responsible for the country’s citrus fruit drop. The organization suggested that monitoring and management must be taken to avoid economic damage, since fruit flies occur throughout the year. Fundecitrus described the fruit flies that cause damage in Brazil and suggested control measures.
Two species of fruit flies have been identified that attack fruit and cause soft rot and fruit drop:
- Anastrepha fraterculus (South American fruit fly) infestations are more intense between the months of March and May. They occur in fruiting plants.
- Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean fruit fly) occurs between July and November. This species attacks the semi-late and late varieties, during the ripening and harvesting of coffee surrounding the citrus stands.
The monitoring of fruit flies is done by capturing adult insects, using traps of two models:
- The McPhail trap uses a food attractant that attracts both species and must be installed in the center and periphery of the orchard for detection.
- The Jackson trap is used with a parapheromone, which exclusively attracts males of C. capitata. It should be installed in places with a history of high infestations. It is important to inspect traps every week.
It is recommended that insecticides be used to control the adult fruit fly population by contact and ingestion. The most appropriate management uses toxic baits, prepared with a mixture of food attractant (hydrolyzed protein) and insecticide. Authorized insecticides belong to the organophosphate, pyrethroid, neonicotinoid and spinosyn groups.
Some additional practices are essential to assist in the management of fruit flies. Guidelines include:
- Remove infested fruit, both from the plant and fruit which has fallen to the ground. This fruit must be removed from the stands and destroyed.
- Carry out early harvesting, which reduces the time the fruit is exposed to fruit fly attacks and reduces the pressure on varieties with multiple blooms.
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