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Orchard Management of Fruit Flies
2022/3/15 15:40:34

Orchard Management of Fruit Flies

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Fruit flies are one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests. They are present in most countries and attack many types of fruit, as well as fruiting vegetables, ornamentals and some nuts. Fruit fly larvae (maggots) damages the fruit internally, causing it to ripen prematurely and rot. Up to 100% of fruit may be damaged by fruit fly when infestations are uncontrolled.


Signs of fruit fly infection

Fruit fly can affect a whole range of fruit that you may grow on your property including apples, stone fruit, figs, grapes, citrus and tomatoes. Signs that your fruit may be affected include:

² Pinprick holes (‘stings’) in fruit

² Visible larvae

² Rotting and fallen fruit

² Flying adult insects

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Fruit fly life cycle

There are four stages to the life cycle of fruit flies, and each stage can affect your crops:


The female adult fly lays eggs into the maturing and ripening fruit of the host plant. You probably won't notice eggs in your fruit, although you may be able to spot puncture wounds.


The eggs hatch into larvae within a few days, and the larvae feed on the flesh of the fruit which causes the fruit to prematurely ripen and rot. This is the most likely stage that you would recognize the presence of fruit fly in your fruit if you cut it open.


As the fruit ripens and rots, it falls to the ground. Fully mature larvae leave the fruit and burrow into the soil to pupate. In the soil, larvae become inactive and change into oval, light to dark brown, hard pupae, in which adult flies develop.


Adult flies may emerge from the pupae in as little as a week in warm weather, or a few months later in cooler seasons. You may be able to recognize adult flies landing on or hovering around fruit, looking for the nourishment they need to reach maturity and breed in your next crop.

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Fruit fly management methods


Pruning fruit trees keeps them to a manageable size to allow easier harvesting of fruit and application of netting, cover sprays or baits.


Early harvesting

Planting early-maturing produce and harvesting early in the season removes host fruit before fruit flies become more active as temperatures increase.



Using physical barriers to stop fruit flies from reaching your fruit and vegetables. This can include mosquito nets covering the whole tree and secured to the trunk, and bags and sleeves placed directly over the fruit you want to keep and secured with wires, pegs or string. You do need to ensure there is a gap between the netting and the fruit as enterprising female fruit flies can pierce the fruit through the netting.


Garden hygiene

Collect and destroy any rotting or unwanted host fruit, whether it is on the ground or still on the plant.  Destroy any maggots by sealing in a plastic bag and leaving in the sun for up to a week, or freezing for two days before putting into garbage. Do not compost infected fruit or put it into your worm farm.


Cover spraying

Cover sprays are generally applied to foliage and developing fruit to destroy eggs and larvae. 


Traps and baits

Traps and attractants are designed to lure and kill fruit flies, and work by placing traps on host trees and other sites around the garden to draw fruit flies away from host produce. Baits can be also be used to reduce fruit fly numbers. Baits consist of a protein attractant mixed with an insecticide which is spot-sprayed onto the trunks or foliage of host plants. Adult flies are attracted to the bait droplets as a food source and killed by the insecticide.


King’s A bait, taking advantage of the fact that adults need to supplement a large amount of high-protein nutrients, an optimized feeding formula was developed, and high-efficiency and low-toxic biological pesticides (Abamectin 0.1%) were added at the same time.


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The Control Efficacy

Area Wide Control Program of Bactrocera minax in Guzhang County, Hunan Province, China from 2011 to 2019, apply in orchard (135 hectares) of Chinese honey orange, ponkan, navel orange, efficacy and yield are showed as followed:

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Comparison of control effects and yield increase


Average fruit damage rate in 2019 (%)

Average fruit damage rate in 2010 (%)

Yield increase (kg/ha)

Yield increase rate (%)

Chinese honey orange










Navel orange





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