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Crops Fruits & nuts Mango Trapping fruit flies, mango, Kenya

Trapping fruit flies, mango, Kenya

November 2013. A note on FreshPlaza provoked some discussion on traps for fruit flies. Under the title: Kenyan mango growers discover cheap and effective way to trap fruit fly, the article described a number of innovative mango farmers in the country who are using low-cost plastic bottles as traps to fight the notorious fruit flies responsible for over 60 per cent of fruit losses.

The cheap baiting solution has seen them record a significant drop in insect-infested harvests and helped them cut down on pesticide use, which has traditionally taken a toll on fruit quality and their pockets. For as little as Sh90, a farmer can make or access a trap that can capture over 50,000 flies within two weeks.

All one needs is a plastic bottle, pierced with small holes on the sides. Inside the bottle, a small cotton or cloth ball is soaked with female fruit fly hormone or liquids like sticky sugar or vinegar that will lure the male fruit fly population.

The males fly in through the small holes in the bottle and are killed by pesticides in the lower part of the bottle. By reducing the male population in this way, farmers have managed to get a handle on fruit fly populations.

A farmer in Uttar Pradesh, India confirmed that the traps worked, although it was not clear whether he used pheromone or the other ingredients as attractants; it was probably pheromone. A member from Kenya said that it works well with bactrolure against Bactrocera invadens.

Later (March 2014) CTA Spore magazine had an article on the method:

Bottle traps to fight fruit flies

Mango farmers in eastern Kenya are using traps made from low-cost plastic bottles to fight fruit flies, leading to a significant drop in insect-infected fruit and a reduction in pesticide use. The trap is made by punching small holes in the side of a plastic bottle containing a cotton or cloth ball soaked in female fruit fly hormones, sticky sugar or vinegar. Costing around KSh90 (€0.80) the trap is capable of catching over 50,000 flies in 2 weeks.

Female fruit flies lay eggs in ripening fruit, releasing maggots which cause the fruit to rot and fall to the ground. More than four-fifths of Kenyan mango harvests are lost to the pest each year. The Africa Alternative Pest Control Group (AAPCG) is training farmers on how to use this biological pest control technology. “If farmers can hit these flies before their numbers increase, they are in a safer position than waiting for the fruit to near ripening, because by then nothing can stop the fertile egg-laying females,” says AAPCG’s Lucas Wanderi.

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