Ecologist Hannah Revis (right) shows Lucy Pasco
how to use fruit fly monitoring traps in her garden. Click the image
for more information about it.
story to find out more.
Gardeners Helping to Save Hawaiian Agriculture
By Kim Kaplan
February 17, 2004
Hawaiian senior citizens who garden
are helping the state's farmers solve a big pest problem--controlling foreign
fruit flies that devastate the harvest for every grower, large and small.
The Agricultural Research Service is
leading a cooperative effort in Hawaii to suppress Mediterranean, Oriental,
Malaysian and melon fruit flies that lay eggs in and damage more than 400
fruits and vegetables, many of which are raised by backyard gardeners.
An area-wide fruit fly control program, led by the ARS
U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural
Research Center in Hilo, Hawaii, in cooperation with the
Hawaii Department of
Agriculture and University of Hawaii,
has been having remarkable success suppressing these tiny but terrible pests
among large and small commercial growers in Hawaii.
But home gardens often act as reservoirs of fruit flies, and achieving real
control requires preventing these reservoirs from supplying new generations of
For this reason, ARS researcher Hannah Revis began meeting with the Kohala
Senior Citizens Club, many of whom are avid gardeners and who were willing to
be cooperators in a fruit fly control pilot test and then to demonstrate the
system to other gardeners. Revis is teaching them how to apply the control
program, which relies primarily on a system of field sanitation, biological
controls and traps with lures, rather than on chemical insecticides.
You can read more about the fruit fly control research in the
February issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.