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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CLASSICAL BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF INSECT PESTS OF CROPS IN THE NORTHEASTERN U.S.

Location: Beneficial Insects Introduction Research

Title: Prospects for biological control of olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae) in California with introduced parasitoids

Authors
item Hoelmer, Kim
item Kirk, Alan - USDA ARS EBCL
item Pickett, C - CDFA

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 4, 2011
Publication Date: June 14, 2011
Citation: Hoelmer, K.A., Kirk, A., Pickett, C.H. 2011. Prospects for biological control of olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae) in California with introduced parasitoids. Biological Control. 21(9):1005-1025.

Interpretive Summary: The olive fruit fly was recently established in California and is a serious threat to olive production. Eradication is no longer feasible, and because olives are widespread in urban and natural landscapes, use of pesticides is not a good option for reducing fly populations. This has stimulated interest in classical, or introduction, biological control of the pest. We discuss the prospects of finding new, non-indigenous natural enemies of B. oleae in Africa and Asia that may be helpful in reducing B. oleae populations in California and elsewhere. Wild relatives of the cultivated olive occur throughout much of southern and eastern Africa, the Arabian peninsula and eastwards into Asia as far as southwestern China. Very little is known regarding the biology and ecology of the olive fly in Africa or Asia. The diversity of parasitoids of B. oleae in the Mediterranean region is low and not specific to the fly, however a rich diversity of natural enemies is known to attack the fly in Africa. Regions in Asia have remained largely unexplored for olive fly, but based on the situation in Africa we can expect to find new natural enemies in Asia as well.

Technical Abstract: Olive fly is currently regarded as a serious threat to olive production in California. With the establishment of B. oleae in California there has been renewed interest in classical, or introduction, biological control of the pest. In this paper we discuss the prospects of finding new, non-indigenous natural enemies of B. oleae in Africa and Asia that may be helpful in reducing B. oleae populations in California and elsewhere. Based on current understanding of phylogenetics of Bactrocera, early opinions that B. oleae originated in Africa or western Asia rather than the Mediterranean region or the Near East are taxonomically and ecologically supportable. Closely related to cultivated olive, the wild olive Olea europaea cuspidata is widely distributed in southern and eastern Africa, the Arabian peninsula and eastwards into Asia as far as southwestern China. Very little is known regarding the biology and ecology of B. oleae in Africa, especially in wild olives. While the diversity of parasitoids of B. oleae in the Mediterranean region is low and unspecialized, a diverse assemblage of parasitoids is known from B. oleae in Africa. Regions in Asia have remained largely unexplored for B. oleae and its natural enemies.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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