New Lure May Help Foil
Fruit Fly Pest
By Marcia Wood
September 29, 1999
A new lure developed at the Agricultural
Research Service may help stop the spread of the Malaysian fruit fly, a
housefly-size pest of crops like peppers, tomato, eggplant, cucumber and
The lure can be easily applied to wicks like those used in standard insect
traps. Traps holding wicks treated with the new blend could be used in
detection programs in states such as California. There, pest control workers
monitor traps year-round to detect outbreaks of other insect species before
they build up.
A relative of the infamous Mediterranean fruit fly, the Malaysian fruit fly
or Bactrocera latifrons is now established on all major islands in
Hawaii. If undetected in contraband produce, it could hitchhike to the
continental U.S. and pose a considerable threat to mainland agriculture. The
insect is native to southern and southeastern regions of Asia.
The new lure was developed by ARS researchers in Hilo, Hawaii, and Albany,
Calif. The agency-- the chief research wing of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture--is seeking patent protection for the lure.
The lure is easy to make and doesnt require solvents or additives. It
combines a colorless chemical called alpha-ionol and cade oil. The oil is a
dark-brown liquid extracted from prickly juniper, Juniperus oxycedrus.
Earlier, ARS scientists in Hawaii and Maryland patented alpha-ionol as a
Malaysian fruit fly lure. Now, ARS experiments in Hawaii have shown that cade
oil makes the lure more effective. The experiments used more than 1 million
laboratory-reared Malaysian fruit flies, according to Grant T. McQuate at the
ARS U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.
An article in the September issue of ARS' monthly journal, Agricultural
Research, tells more. See it on the World Wide Web at:
Scientific contact: Grant T. McQuate, ARS U.S. Pacific Basin
Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii, phone (808) 959-4300, fax (808)