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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: POSTHARVEST TREATMENT OF TROPICAL COMMODITIES FOR QUARANTINE SECURITY, QUALITY MAINTENANCE, AND VALUE ENHANCEMENT

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Title: A Systems Approach to Mitigate Oriental Fruit Fly Risk in ‘Sharwil’ Avocados Exported From Hawaii

Authors
item Follett, Peter
item Vargas, Roger

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 23, 2010
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Citation: Follett, P.A., Vargas, R.I., Jang, E.B. 2010. A Systems Approach to Mitigate Oriental Fruit Fly Risk in ‘Sharwil’ Avocados Exported From Hawaii. Acta Horticulturae. Acta Horticulturae. 880: 439-445.

Interpretive Summary: 'Sharwil' avocados grown in Hawaii cannot be exported to the United States mainland without quarantine treatment for melon fly, oriental fruit fly, and Mediterranean fruit fly. Sharwil is a poor host for tephritid fruit flies, and only oriental fruit fly will naturally infest fruit on the tree, albeit rarely. A multi-component systems approach is proposed to reduce the risk of oriental fruit fly infestation in Sharwil avocados exported from Hawaii into the United States to an acceptable level. This systems approach is based on poor host status, limited distribution, and low prevalence. Oriental fruit fly populations are naturally low in Hawaii’s small avocado farms, and maintaining low oriental fruit fly numbers via monitoring and use of selective insecticide baits during the shipping period should reduce the rate of fruit infestation to negligible levels. Avocados will be shipped only to northern tier states, and will be shipped only during the winter months of November to March when fruit flies could not survive cold temperatures. The cumulative effect of multiple safeguards should provide quarantine security against oriental fruit fly and other quarantine pests in exported Sharwil avocados.

Technical Abstract: Avocados, Persea americana Miller, grown in Hawaii cannot be exported to the United States mainland without quarantine treatment for melon fly, oriental fruit fly, and Mediterranean fruit fly. The most widely grown cultivar of avocado in Hawaii is ‘Sharwil’. ‘Sharwil’, like other avocado varieties, is a poor host for tephritid fruit flies. After many years of study only oriental fruit fly has been found to naturally infest fruit on the tree, albeit rarely. A multi-component systems approach is proposed to reduce the risk of oriental fruit fly infestation in ‘Sharwil’ avocados exported from Hawaii into the United States to an acceptable level. This systems approach is based on poor host status, limited distribution, and low prevalence. Recent surveys suggest oriental fruit fly populations are naturally low in Hawaii’s small avocado farms. Maintaining low oriental fruit fly numbers in orchards during the shipping period should reduce the rate of infestation to negligible levels. Population levels will be monitored using protein bait traps and, if needed, suppression will be achieved using selective reduced-risk insecticide baits. ‘Sharwil’ avocados will be shipped only to northern tier states, and will be shipped only during the winter months of November to March when temperatures in the distribution area are inhospitable to tropical fruit pests. The cumulative effect of multiple safeguards should provide quarantine security against oriental fruit fly and other quarantine pests in exported avocados.

Last Modified: 4/25/2014
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