PNG FRUIT FLY TRIALS SUCCEEDING

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 31, 2002 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---There appears to be good news for Papua New Guinea fruit farmers, with trials of a fruit fly control method showing encouraging results.

The trials have been conducted for the past three years by the National Agriculture Research Institute. They have been funded by the Australian Center for International Agriculture Research and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

Fruit fly is a major problem in Papua New Guinea, where the insect infects fruits. Infected fruits have little worms inside. Specialists say Papua New Guinea has the highest number of fruit fly species in the Pacific, with about 180 varieties.

The trials were headed by a United Nations volunteer and entomologist Luc Le Blanc, with a team of scientists from the research institute.

Mr. Le Blanc said the trials, which were done on the Vietnam white guava, had been fairly successful.

The trials were on two of these species -- the Bactrocera frauenfeldi and Bactrocera obliqua.

They involved a method that consisted of spraying a solution of protein and insecticide in water over a small area of leaves on each tree.

The female flies, in need of a protein meal to produce viable eggs, are attracted to the bait, feed on it and are killed by the insecticide.

Mr. Le Blanc said although the method was new, extensive exposure and the combination of physical and cultural methods of fruit fly population control might assist protein bait spraying to be a successful control method.

He said this could be especially so for commercial horticultural industries.

Fruit Fly Project technician Michael Kalamen said that protein bait spraying is proving effective.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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