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Fruit Fly Program

Fruit Fly Program

Location: 1730 Varsity Dr., Suite 400, Raleigh, NC 27606
Phone: (919) 855-7407
Fax: (919) 855-7480
Contact: Ken Bloem

The Fruit Fly Program supports the APHIS Fruit Fly Exclusion and Detection program in meeting its goals to: strengthen detection and response capabilities, conduct preventative sterile fly releases over areas susceptible to fruit fly outbreaks, and maintain ongoing control programs in order to prevent exotic fruit flies from becoming established or spreading within the United States.

Program efforts are centered on providing continued technical and methods support to the field during emergency response quarantine and eradication activities. These include support to improve fruit fly rearing and emergence techniques; fruit fly aerial sterile releases; release equipment calibration; ground pesticide treatments and operational techniques; enhanced detection; modeling of pest colonization and dispersal; and quality assurance of program resources such as lures, diets, and control pesticides.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Two Cs-137 Husman irradiators used to sterilize Mexican fruit flies in Texas, two Cs-137 Husman irradiators and two Co-60 irradiators used to sterilize Mexfly and Medfly were calibrated using alanine transfer dosimeters and certified by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.
  • Approved the use of new solid cone formulation of 3 component lures to replace standard 3 component patches for use in APHIS cooperative fruit fly programs, resulting in program cost savings.
  • Delivered sterile Mexican fruit fly black pupal strain for program use in Texas.
  • Delivered a new strain of Mexican fruit fly (Willacy standard strain) for production, sterilization, and release in Texas.
  • Convened a technical working group to review the Mexican fruit fly program in Texas and formulated recommendations to improved rearing, SIT, and eradication efforts.
  • Interpolated maps generated using sterile fly capture data were developed and implemented by the Mexican fruit fly program in Texas and Mexico to evaluate sterile fly densities within release blocks biweekly.
  • Sanitation methods for bacterial pathogens (two species of Morganella) affecting mass rearing of Mexican fruit fly were validated and delivered to the Edinburg rearing facility for program use.
  • Calibrated Mexfly aerial release machines to release a more accurate number of fruit flies per acre.
  • Performed quality assurance review of the Mexfly Rearing and Emergence Facility in Edinburg, Texas and monitored environmental conditions within the facility.
  • Successfully tested an oil of wintergreen mixed with malathion to mask the unpleasant odor during treatments of production areas for Oriental fruit fly and spotted-winged Drosophila in California. This scent is expected to reduce complaints by homeowners living near treated fields.
  • Improved identification techniques and tools.
  • Developed a host compendium and updated host lists for regulatory quarantine.
  • Produced a report on fruit fly host status: Host plants ofBactrocera dorsalis complex belonging to family Cucurbitaceae.
  • Validated additional molecular methods to support pathway analysis, regulatory decisions, and identification for oriental fruit fly and species of Anastrepha.
  • Refined SIT monitoring model for sterile release evaluations and regulatory decision-making.
  • Supported additional pesticide labels for pre-harvest treatments in California for Oriental fruit fly and spotted-winged Drosophila.
  • Developed a Systems Approach Working Group to address quarantine movement of major commodities including fresh tomato from areas quarantined for Medfly, sweet cherries from areas quarantined for Oriental fruit fly, and citrus from areas quarantined for Mexican fruit fly in Texas.
  • Developed additional pesticide quality assurance bioassays.
  • Conducted bioassays and chemical analysis of fruit fly attractants in support of Field Operations as part of the CPHST Quality Assurance Survey Program.
  • Evaluated aerial swaths used during preventative releases of sterile fruit flies in Florida and California to determine effective dispersal patterns and possibly reduce program costs.
  • Evaluated emergence pupae holding temperature and provided recommendations.
  • Provided fruit fly rearing and diet microbial contamination analysis and recommended new procedures.
  • Developed new packaging and shipping methods for sterile fruit fly pupae resulting in significant costs savings.
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