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Oriental fruit fly

Preferred Scientific Name: Bactrocera species

The Oriental fruit fly is native to Asia, but has spread to over 30 countries, including parts of America and Oceania. Increases in international tourism and trade have been linked to the increased potential risk of introduction. 

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Why is it a problem?

Oriental fruit fly poses a serious threat to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout its range; in some areas they have been shown to cause up to 100% damage levels to unprotected crops. A high reproductive potential and broad host range makes the fruit fly highly invasive.

Impacts

  • Reduces native biodiversity
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Severe crop reductions

What’s the solution?

Prevention

Prevention methods such as the restriction of imports of fruit into uninfected areas have shown to be effective in preventing spread. Equally, the wrapping of fruit in newspaper and plastic bags before the fruit fly has a chance to attack has proved to be an effective prevention technique in infested areas. Fruit fly seldom attack plants prior to ripening, therefore crops like mango can be protected if they are harvested early. 

Chemical control 

The use of bait insecticides (the method of combining an insecticide with protein bait and then applying minimal amounts to the plant) have shown to be effective, as the fruit fly is drawn to the ammonia that is emanated by the protein source. This method has proved to be more economic and environmentally friendly than alternatives, such as cover sprays. 

Biological methods

Sterile insect techniques were used to successfully eradicate fruit fly from areas in Japan. 

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Joseph Maramba

Joseph Maramba

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Joseph Maramba lives in the Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi, about an hour north of Mombasa. Here Joseph growns mangoes which he sells at he local market.

Simeon Mwamuye

Simeon Mwamuye

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Simeon Mwamuye is a mango farmer in the Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi, about an hour north of Mombasa.

Fact file

Name Oriental fruit fly

Distribution

Asia, Africa, North/South/Central America & Oceania

For more information on distribution, view the full datasheet available here

Habitat

Agricultural land, orchards, shrub lands and managed forests

Natural enemies

Can be attacked by vertebrates when in larval stage, also attacked by a range of parasitoids to a lesser effect

Invasiveness

Spreads rapidly and can disperse itself across a broad range because of its ability to fly

Likelihood of entry

International tourism and trade

Climate

Tropical

Further reading

Visit our online resource of research and full text articles and journals
Invasive Species Compendium

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