Invader fruit flies hit South Africa

2013-03-25 21:06
Fruit flies, known as Bactrocera Invaden, have been detected in SA. (Picture: Supplied)

Fruit flies, known as Bactrocera Invaden, have been detected in SA. (Picture: Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Invader fruit flies have infested some areas in the northern parts of South Africa, the agriculture department said on Monday.

"This fruit fly is an invasive species with a wide range of hosts, and it causes severe damage to its host plants," the department said in a statement.

The pest was currently present only in some areas of South Africa and attempts were underway to control it.

Hosts include mango, citrus, guava, papaya, bananas, marula, wild figs, bell peppers, pumpkin, and tomatoes.

The department said the fruit flies, known as Bactrocera Invaden, had been detected in the areas of Zeerust, Musina, Tshipise, Nwanedi, Witvlag, Levubu, Thohoyandou, Deerpark, Letsitele, Hoedspruit, Burgersfort, Mbombela, Malelane, and Komatipoort.

"The department will be investing in further resources, such as agricultural chemicals [approximately R10m] and preventative steps," it said.

"Previously, several isolated incursions of B Invadens were detected in the northern parts of the country, in 2010 and 2011. All of these incursions were successfully eradicated."

In 2012, they had re-appeared in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

"In most of these areas, the pest was eradicated."

The department appealed to landowners and producers to apply good agricultural practices.

Fallen and rotten fruit should be buried and covered with half a metre of soil.

"Alternatively, if it is not possible to bury discarded fruit, such fruit should be placed in a strong, undamaged refuse bag, which must be securely closed to prevent the pest from escaping," it said.

"The bag should be placed in the sun."

No person was allowed to move fruit from an infested area to a non-infested area without a permit.

"Failure to effectively control fly populations may lead to the dispersal of the pest from the affected areas to other unaffected production areas," it said.

"It is of utmost importance that no fruit is brought into South Africa [from any country] without a phytosanitary import permit."

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  insects  |  plants

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