A program to
suppress fruit flies in Hawaii has helped growers increase yields. Here, Aloun
Farms owner Mike Sou (left) and field manager Joseph Liu Man Hin point out
fruit flies hiding in a banana tree to entomologist Roger Vargas. Click the
image for more information about it.
Foreign Fruit Fly Suppression Program Grows in
Hawaii By Kim
Kaplan December 22, 2004
Fruit grower Hugo Butler of Kula, Maui, used to feed most of his
peaches, loquats and persimmons to the hogs because the fruit was too
fly-damaged to sell. But that changed once he joined the Agricultural Research
Service (ARS)-funded Hawaii Area- Wide
Fruit Fly Integrated Pest Management (HAW-FLYPM) Program.
Today, Butler has a 96-percent improvement in his persimmon crop and
reports raising amazing amounts of loquats and peaches. He is even growing
perfect guavas for the first time--all without resorting to weekly pesticide
Before ARS, the Hawaii
Department of Agriculture and the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension
Service partnered to develop this fruit fly suppression program to curb a
quartet of exotic pests--Mediterranean, oriental, Malaysian and melon fruit
flies. Together, they used to turn more than 400 fruits and vegetables in
Hawaii into maggot-infested, inedible mush unless farmers and gardeners relied
on intense applications of organophosphate pesticides.
Now, five years after the HAW-FLYPM program began being demonstrated
to the first few farmers on the big island of Hawaii, Butler is just one of
more than 300 small and large growers across the islands who have reduced fruit
fly infestation to less than 5 percent while cutting pesticide use by 75-90
Areawide pest control programs are most successful when many growers
in an area participate, leaving few reservoirs from which the pest population
With the program successfully established, HAW-FLYPM is now beginning
its final step. Its long-term management is being shifted from researchers to
the growers themselves. ARS will continue to research new technologies for
improving fruit fly control.
The Entomological Society of
America recently honored the program with its
Integrated Pest Management Team Award, presented by the
Entomological Foundation. The award
recognizes a collaborative team effort--involving industry and academic
scientists--to control an insect pest.
ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.