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Grant T McQuate

Research Entomologist

Contact Information

Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center

64 Nowelo St.
Hilo, Hawaii 96720 
Ph: (808) 959-4339
Fax: (808) 959-5470

Grant McQuate


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

  • 2013-present Research Entomologist, USDA, ARS, DKIPBARC, Hilo, HI.
  • 2002-2013 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 24 years experience in research in the areas of ecology, semiochemicals, host status 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 assessment/summarization of host status of tephritid fruit flies of economic importance. In recent years, I have broadened my research to, also, focus on biology and control of Chinese rose beetle, and develop improved methods of detection, monitoring and control of quarantine-significant pests of sweetpotato. 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.

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 Ceratitis capitata. 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.


Documented that nighttime illumination can be used to protect plants from defoliation by Chinese rose beetle

/ARSUserFiles/3774/NighttimeIlluminationGraphicCropWithBeetle.jpgEnvironmentally-friendly control methods are needed to protect crops from defoliation by Chinese rose beetle, Adoretus sinicus, a night-feeding beetle found in Asia, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands, and an invasive risk to the U. S. Mainland. Taking advantage of the avoidance of light by adult beetles when they select the plant on which they will feed at night we demonstrated that a portable, solar-based LED spotlight system, providing nighttime illumination commencing near sunset, suppressed beetle numbers on host plants. Nighttime illumination in a young cacao orchard permitted orchard establishment, while a control orchard which did not receive nighttime illumination failed to establish because of excessive defoliation. The results clearly show that nighttime illumination has potential for use as a means of reducing the size of Chinese rose beetle populations, and associated aggregate defoliation, on a host plant, such as cacao, a developing specialty crop in Hawaii.


Demonstrated that addition of solar-powered green light to a trap with a high dose sweetpotato weevil male lure can significantly enhance trap catch

The sweetpotato weevil, Cylas formicarius, is a major pest of sweetpotato in Hawaii as well as a pest of concern/ARSUserFiles/3774/GreenLightTrapWithSweetpotatoWeevil.jpg in all parts of the tropics where sweetpotatoes are grown. Sweetpotato weevil infestation can reduce marketable root yield as well as reduce root quality through induction of production of bitter tasting sesquiterpines by the sweetpotato tissue. Traps baited with a male attractant are used for monitoring and suppression of sweetpotato weevils. In collaboration with a pest management company, we developed a trap which incorporated a solar-powered green light in addition to the male attractant. In traps baited with a high dose of male lure, the addition of the green light increased catch of male sweetpotato weevils by over fourfold. This improved catch has the potential to significantly improve detection, monitoring and control of sweetpotato weevil populations, resulting in a significant reduction in crop loss attributable to sweetpotato weevil damage.


Co-Facilitated the Development of Updated, Online Accessible, Summarization of Host Status Records for Tephritid Fruit Flies of Economic Importance


Fruit flies cause direct damage to fruits and vegetables through oviposition and larval feeding and restrict movement of commodities across national and international borders. Establishment of appropriate regulatory procedures, however, is dependent on the knowledge of the status of commodities as hosts for fruit fly species. The online accessible Compendium of Fruit Fly Host Information (CoFFHI;, to which I have contributed host summarization data and of which I am one of the overall project coordinators, provides comprehensive documentation of host records of tephritid fruit flies. It was developed through collaborative efforts of scientists in USDA-APHIS-CPHST, USDA-ARS, and the Center for Integrated Pest Management (CIPM). CoFFHI, Edition 2.0, released in September 2016, has two integral components:  (1) comprehensive species-specific databases on suitable host plants of quarantine-significant fruit fly species; and (2) the Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Databases, a compilation of taxonomic names and host records for nearly 5,000 currently recognized fruit fly species of the world. CoFFHI provides host information for the following fruit fly species of economic importance: the Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens Loew; the carambola fruit fly, Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock; the guava fruit fly, Bactrocera correcta (Bezzi); the melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett); the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel); Bactrocera latifrons (Hendel); Bactrocera pedestris (Bezzi); the Bactrocera tau complex; the peach fruit fly, Bactrocera zonata Saunders; the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann); and the apple maggot fly, Rhagoletis pomonella (Walsh). As a primary reference on fruit fly host plants, CoFFHI is designed to enable regulatory scientists and regulatory officials to assess and mitigate the risk of the introduction and establishment of exotic fruit flies, in fresh horticultural commodities, that pose significant threats to U.S. agriculture and natural resources, and for use in the design and implementation of effective fruit fly detection, monitoring, suppression, and eradication programs of USDA and various state regulatory agencies.

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.
  • Helped host two IAEA-sponsored trainees from the Seychelles to improve their background for areawide control of melon fly.
  • Co-PI on a $50,000 grant (FY2011), a $60,000 grant (FY2012), a $100,000 grant (FY2013), a $110,000 grant (FY2014) from APHIS, a ~$241,000 grant (FY2015 Farm Bill) and a $291,133 grant (FY2016 Farm Bill) to develop summaries of host status of fruits and vegetables of selected tephritid fruit fly species.
  • Have reviewed manuscripts for the African Journal of Agricultural Research, Arthropod-Plant Interactions; Australian J. of Entomology; Crop Protection; Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata; Florida Entomologist; Insect Science; International Journal of Pest Management; Journal of Applied Entomology; Journal of Economic Entomology; Journal of Insect Behavior; Journal of Insect Science; Phytoparasitica; Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society; Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Fruit Flies of Economic Importance; and Revista Colombiana de Entomologia.
  • Member, Entomological Society of America
  • Member, Hawaiian Entomological Society
  • Member, Center for Systematic Entomology

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