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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: Quarantine updates: little fire ant and mixed fruit boxes

Author
item Follett, Peter

Submitted to: Proceedings of the International Tropical Fruit Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 20, 2006
Publication Date: November 17, 2006
Citation: Follett, P.A. 2006. Quarantine updates: little fire ant and mixed fruit boxes. Proceedings of the International Tropical Fruit Conference.

Interpretive Summary: Irradiation has been approved for all cultivars of bananas for the first time, and several shipments of apple bananas using irradiation treatment were made in Sep-Oct. The 400 Gy irradiation treatment for bananas is an alternative to the non-host status treatment that has been available for several years but not widely used. The little fire ant (LFA), Wasmannia auropunctata, was first discovered in 1999 near Pahoa, Puna district, and has become a problem for several tropical fruit growers on the Big Island. Field tests are in progress to compare the effectiveness several ant control chemicals: Amdro (in bait stations), Esteem (a growth regulator), and Conserve (a contact insecticide). At 12 weeks, densities of ants in the Amdro and Esteem plots were low compared with densities in the Conserve and untreated control plots. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to ship mixed-fruit gift boxes like Harry & David? From a regulatory viewpoint, there are two ways to do this: (1) fruit could be treated as usual then repacked into mixed boxes in an APHIS-certified pest-free packing house, or (2) several fruits could be packed in a box to begin with and irradiated to achieve the minimum/maximum dose requirements without having to repack. Research is underway to better understand bulk density relationships between mixed-fruit boxes and single-fruit boxes. A repack facility could be built and certified in a relatively short period of time, allowing export of mixed fruit gift boxes immediately thereafter.

Technical Abstract: Irradiation has been approved for all cultivars of bananas for the first time, and several shipments of apple bananas using irradiation treatment were made in Sep-Oct. The 400 Gy irradiation treatment for bananas is an alternative to the non-host status treatment that has been available for several years but not widely used. The little fire ant (LFA), Wasmannia auropunctata, was first discovered in 1999 near Pahoa, Puna district, and has become a problem for several tropical fruit growers on the Big Island. Field tests are in progress to compare the effectiveness several ant control chemicals: Amdro (in bait stations), Esteem (a growth regulator), and Conserve (a contact insecticide). At 12 weeks, densities of ants in the Amdro and Esteem plots were low compared with densities in the Conserve and untreated control plots. Current requirements for irradiation of tropical fruits for export are one fruit type per box using standardized box types and weights. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to ship mixed-fruit gift boxes like Harry & David? From a regulatory viewpoint, there are two ways to do this: (1) fruit could be treated as usual then repacked into mixed boxes in an APHIS-certified pest-free packing house, or (2) several fruits could be packed in a box to begin with and irradiated to achieve the minimum/maximum dose requirements without having to repack. Research is underway to better understand bulk density relationships between mixed-fruit boxes and single-fruit boxes. A repack facility could be built and certified in a relatively short period of time, allowing export of mixed fruit gift boxes immediately thereafter. HTFG members interested in shipping mixed fruit boxes should meet and decide whether there is sufficient interest to warrant building a repack facility.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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