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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Grant T. McQuate
Research Entomologist

Grant McQuate

Contact Information

U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center
64 Nowelo St.
Hilo, Hawaii 96720 
Ph: (808) 959-4339
Fax: (808) 959-5470


via ARIS System

via Google Scholar


  • Ph.D., Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, 1985
  • M.S., Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1979
  • B.S., Zoology, Ohio University, 1977


Born December 31, 1954, Athens, OH. Married (Emma) with one son (Ian). Research areas: ecology, detection, monitoring, and suppression of insect pests of tropical crops. Hobbies: plants (tropical fruits, vegetables & ornamentals), photography.

Academic Positions

  • 2002-present Research Biologist, USDA, ARS, PBARC, Hilo, HI.
  • 1997-2002 Biologist, USDA, ARS, Hilo, HI.
  • 1992-1997 Biological Technician (Insects), USDA, ARS, Hilo, HI

Research Accomplishments

I have over 18 years experience in research in the areas of ecology, semiochemicals, and suppression of tephritid fruit flies. Building on a research background in agricultural ecology and insect – plant interactions and a personal interest in tropical crops, my overall research efforts with USDA-ARS have contributed to advances in tephritid fruit fly attractants (improved male lure attractants for Bactrocera latifrons and the melon fly), tephritid fruit fly ecology (food sources in nature and utilization of roosting hosts), tephritid fruit fly suppression (improved, environmentally friendly, suppression techniques), and identification of pest complexes on tropical and subtropical fruits in Hawaii. In recent years, I have broadened my research to, also, focus on biology and control of Chinese rose beetle, development of IPM of sweet potato pests and post harvest processing of Kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves to prevent the spread of Asian citrus psyllid in shipments of these commodities. My major research accomplishments are presented below:

Established alpha-ionol + cade oil as an improved attractant system for male Bactrocera latifrons and demonstrated the effectiveness of protein-baited sprays for population suppression.

Bactrocera latifrons Bactrocera latifrons is the most recent tephritid fruit fly of economic importance to invade Hawaii. It primarily attacks fruits of solanaceous plants (e.g., peppers, tomatoes, eggplant) and cucurbitaceous plants (e.g., cucumber, ivy gourd). As a new invasive species, our knowledge of many aspects of the biology of this species was limited. We developed an improved male lure for detection and monitoring of B. latifrons and demonstrated its value in population detection of B. latifrons. We, also, further documented the population ecology of Bactrocera latifrons and the status of biological control against B. latifrons in the field and demonstrated the effectiveness of protein bait sprays in suppressing B. latifrons populations. Overall, these advances have improved methods for detection and control of field B. latifrons populations. We prepared a “Bactrocera latifrons Detection Guide” which has been posted on the internet by the Tephritid Workers Database – making the detection guide available worldwide ( News, dated 28 Oct., 2006.

Demonstrated that Mediterranean fruit fly infestation of persimmon and coffee could be considerably reduced through environmentally friendly control methods.

PersimonsBefore research was initiated, persimmon growers on Maui often lost a significant portion of their crop, estimated to often reach 40 – 60%, to infestation by Mediterranean fruit fly. We (with Dr. Ron Mau of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and supporting technical staff) demonstrated two environmentally friendly methods (toxicant-free mass trapping and spinosad-based bait sprays) that were effective in reducing Medfly field populations. Growers adopted the demonstrated suppression techniques and persimmon infestation rates by Medfly have dropped to less than 1%.

Identified the relative attractiveness of different plant species as oriental fruit fly and/or melon fly roosting hosts and applied the results to the implementation of areawide melon fly suppression programs.

Melonson CockleburrImproved knowledge of tephritid fruit fly behavior contributes to improved suppression capability. We developed methods which can be used to identify the relative attractiveness of different plants as roosting hosts. Knowledge of where flies roost is very important, because those are the plants which are the best place for application of bait sprays for population suppression. The improved knowledge of roosting hosts has been extended to areawide melon fly IPM programs in Hawaii and other tropical countries.


Documented field infestation rates of dragonfruit by tephritid fruit flies and developed approaches for suppression of infestation

Ripe DragonfruitDragonfruit, Hylocereus undatus, is a fruit of the night-blooming cereus. It is reported to have first been introduced to Hawaii about 1830, but commercial production has only been attempted in recent years. As a new crop, production methods are still being developed. Among production issues are documentation of pest problems and development of pest management procedures. We documented dragonfruit infestation by both oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), and melon fly, B. cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera: Tephritidae), documented the spatial distribution of these fruit fly species in the field, and developed approaches for suppression of infestation.

Service, Leadership and Participation in Professional Activities:

  • Consulted with MOSCAMED staff (Guatemala) concerning phloxine B – protein bait large area (16,700 hectare) aerial spray for suppression of Mediterranean fruit fly. Consulting trips made Dec., 1997 and Feb., 1998.
  • Contributed research and outreach efforts in support of an areawide fruit fly integrated pest management (IPM) program in Hawaii, a program which has received national honors and the techniques of which have been adopted internationally.
  • Provided technical guidance and trapping supplies to scientists in Benin, Kenya & Tanzania for assistance in detection of B. latifrons, a newly invasive species in Africa, Oct., 2006, with consulting trip in June – July, 2007.
  • Conducted International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission to Mauritius focused on implementation of a demonstration areawide melon fly suppression project. June, 2007.
  • Sponsored IAEA Fellow from Mauritius for training in Hawaii in support of the implementation of a demonstration areawide melon fly suppression project in Mauritius. June 2008.
  • Member, Entomological Society of America
  • Member, Hawaiian Entomological Society

Honors, Awards, Achievements and Recognition:

  • CRC Freshman Chemistry Award (in B.S. program at Ohio University), 1974
  • Fred H. Moore Research Award (in Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia), 1983
  • Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholarship (in Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia), 1984-1985
  • Selected to attend the ARS National Scientific Leadership Conference in New Orleans, held in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Agricultural Research Service, 2004

Last Modified: 8/22/2012
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