In Summary
  • The pest attacks and damages most of the soft-skinned and some harder-skinned fruits. They include citrus, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers, apples, watermelons and butternuts
  • During the laying of the eggs, bacteria from intestines of the fly are introduced into the fruit causing rotting of the tissues surrounding the eggs and resulting in rotten fruit.
  • The symptoms of the damage vary from one fruit to the other though the affected produce shows small holes visible when the larvae leaves the fruits.
  • They include eliminating the source of attraction of the fruit flies by sorting and grading, eating ripened fruits and discarding the affected fruits appropriately.

Nothing can be as disappointing to a consumer as cutting a fruit like a mango or an orange only to notice white maggots inside.

The maggots are the larvae stage of fruit flies. There are different species of fruit flies, such as Bactrocera invadens, Bactocera curcubitae and Ceratitis cosyra, that affect a wide range of fruits and vegetables, making them unsuitable for human consumption.

The pest attacks and damages most of the soft-skinned and some harder-skinned fruits. They include citrus, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers, apples, watermelons and butternuts

The adult fruit fly is about an eighth-inch long and has red eyes. It is pale yellow to brown in appearance with transparent wings, and it feeds on the sap of the decaying materials. The pest is highly productive with the female laying up to 500 eggs.

The adult fruit fly causes damage to ripening fruits by puncturing the skin to lay eggs. The eggs hatch to larvae (whitish maggots), which begin to feed on the fruits within.

During the laying of the eggs, bacteria from intestines of the fly are introduced into the fruit causing rotting of the tissues surrounding the eggs and resulting in rotten fruit.

Sometimes the larvae are found in large proportion of the harvested fruits. For home consumption, one may cut away the small portions of the affected fruits, but this is not possible for commercial produce.

The flies can be a problem all-year-round especially to a farmer with a wide range of fruits and vegetables, which mature at different seasons.

However, the population of the fruit flies tends to be abundant during the hot seasons and multiply rapidly causing higher damage within a short period.

During the ripening of the fruits, the infestation is quite higher since the fruit flies are attracted to the ripening and fermenting fruits.

The symptoms of the damage vary from one fruit to the other though the affected produce shows small holes visible when the larvae leaves the fruits.

In tomatoes, affected fruits develop lesions accompanied by a clear oozing sap with a bad odour and eventually, the fruits fall on the ground.

This is unlike when the tomatoes are affected by Tuta absoluta, which also pierces the fruits but does not result in fruit rot. The same signs are displayed in cucumbers.

HIGH LEVEL OF FARM HYGIENE

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