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Attractive Lure Beckons Anastrepha Fruit Flies

By Alfredo Flores
August 22, 2003

An Agricultural Research Service scientist and cooperators are developing a new lure that could increase the capture of Anastrepha fruit flies that attack a variety of citrus and other crops in North and South America.

The lure was developed jointly by researchers at ARS' Kika de la Garza Subtropical Agricultural Research Center in Weslaco, Texas, and at IPM Tech Inc. of Portland, Ore. It has surpassed expectations, both for attractiveness and longevity in the field. When used on sticky, yellow-panel traps in grapefruit orchards in South Texas, IPM Tech lures were five times as effective as two-component lures in controlling Mexican fruit flies (A. ludens).

Anastrepha fruit fly species are a serious pest in many regions from northern South America to northern Mexico, penetrating into southern Texas. California, Arizona and Florida are especially vulnerable. The flies attack a variety of citrus, including grapefruit and oranges, as well as pears, peaches and apples. This new synthetic lure may be a promising basis for mass trapping or use at bait stations or kill stations to control Anastrepha species.

When tested on sticky bottle traps, the IPM Tech lures were 20 times as effective as standard ammonium phosphate McPhail traps for capturing South American fruit flies (A. fraterculus). In those tests, they remained effective for up to 16 weeks.

ARS entomologist David C. Robacker of the Crop Quality and Fruit Insects Research Unit in Weslaco works with a team of researchers located at IPM Tech; the Topara Fruit Tree Nursery in Topara Valley, Peru; Catholic University in Quito, Ecuador; the Institute of Ecology in Xalapa, Mexico; and several universities in the United States.

IPM Tech's lure shows great promise as a tool for detecting and monitoring Anastrepha species. Future research will determine if the lure will work in wet traps, in other geographical areas and for other species of fruit flies.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's primary scientific research agency.