“For every 10 male fruit flies in a trap, there are up to 400 females, 40 000 eggs, 8 000 larvae and 2 000 pupae – that’s 50 000 flies per hectare,” says Rittie Smit from Dow Agroscience. According to Smit, some basic knowledge about fruit flies will help farmers control them more effectively. Fruit flies prefer staying within the shelter of a tree to moving around. They prefer protein, but eat sugars when it’s hot or while laying eggs. Optimum feeding temperature is between 24ºC and 26ºC. No eggs are laid at below 16ºC, says Smit. Fruit flies don’t fly into bait applications, so it’s important to scatter the bait inside the tree. Smit stresses the importance of using the correct tools and the prescribed dosage. He recommends using a nozzle that produces a solid stream under high pressure. This stream will break into fine droplets when it hits the tree, effectively covering the area inside the tree where the flies live. B ait application is neglected on many farms, says Smit. It’s often the last task of the day and, if done without supervision, can be a shoddy rush job. Smit also warned farmers against untrustworthy pest control operators. According to Smit, quad bikes have limitations when it comes to applying bait. They seldom have pumps with the capacity to provide the required pressure, and with a minimum speed of 10km/h, they’re also too fast to be effective. Contact Rittie Smit of Dow Agroscience on (021) 872 1751.
“For every 10 male fruit flies in a trap, there are up to 400 females, 40 000 eggs, 8 000 larvae and 2 000 pupae – that’s 50 000 flies per hectare,” says Rittie Smit from Dow Agroscience
Issue date 31 August 2007
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