Fruit flies are recognised as one of horticulture’s most serious pests. A number of important species attack fruiting vegetables such as zucchini, capsicums, cucumber and eggplant. Restrictions on the use of chemical insecticides, particularly dimethoate and fenthion, have increased production issues and raised quarantine barriers in domestic and international markets.
The objective of this project has been to collate and review fruit fly research and development relevant to the vegetable industry. This information is evaluated and summarised in a categorised report appended to this document. Knowledge gaps and research needs have been identified in areas such as ecology and behaviour, pre-harvest management, postharvest controls and systems approaches.
Following discussion with growers and other industry members, the identified research needs were evaluated in terms of research cost, implementation cost, likelihood of success and potential industry benefits. Specific project concepts were prioritised and a five year plan is proposed.
The plan includes scope for basic research, on-farm trials and participatory research and implementation. Initial stages will examine specific treatments and aim to provide rapid results and “bang for buck”. Following projects are more long term and strategic. The final stage is envisaged as a participatory research and implementation activity involving growers, grower organisations, researchers and government regulators, with a strong focus on communication and extension.