|Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:15|
Palau (488 km²) comprises of 343 islands, of which nine are inhabited. The largest island is 396 Km² Babeldoab. The capital is on Koror Island, south of Babeldoab.
Limited trapping and host fruit surveying was done in 1988-90 by Mr. Demei Otobed, who only collected mango fly and breadfruit fly. Oriental fruit fly was discovered in Palau in September 1996, probably introduced from Asia by travellers who carried infested fruits not declared to quarantine. The newcomer has had a dramatic impact on villages, suddenly causing very high damage on papaya, ripening banana, mango, carambola and guava. Quarantine surveillance was established in May 1999, with support from the Project on Regional Management of Fruit Flies in the Pacific (RMFFP). A fruit fly research laboratory was also established in 1999 with support from RMFFP and the Plant Protection in Micronesia Project.
A feasibility study carried out in 1999 concluded that Oriental fruit fly and breadfruit fly could be eradicated by male annihilation and protein bait spraying at a cost of USD 1.2 million. A subsequent socioeconomic study strongly supported the option of eradicating Oriental fruit fly.
Fruit fly work in Palau is coordinated by the Department of Agriculture and Mineral Resources and technically supported by RMFFP and USDA - ARS fruit fly research team based in Hawaii. Rearing and heat tolerance studies on mango fly will soon commence in Palau. For more information, please contact:
Mr. Fernando Sengebau, Plant Protection Officer, Division of Agriculture and Mineral
Woman bagging guavas in Palau for protection against fruit flies
FRUIT FLY SPECIES: Five species are present. Mango fly (Bactrocera frauenfeldi), a native species, is very common throughout the country. Breadfruit fly (B. umbrosa) has been introduced to Palau. The species recorded in September 1996 in Palau, then identified as Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) based on trapped male flies is in fact, two other species of the complex (B. occipitalis and B. philippinensis). For full story, consult the Pest Alert No 23 (pdf, Kb). There are plans to eradicate the species by male annihilation with methyl eugenol. Host fruit surveying carried out in Palau in early 2001 has yielded fresh male and female specimens, that have helped identify correctly the species. B. dorsalis therefore does not occur in Palau. A fifth species, the non-economic B. calophylli, was recorded on Palau by Hardy and Hadachi (1956) but has not since been collected. Its presence on Palau requires confirmation.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF FRUIT FLIES: Oriental fruit fly complex species cause 90% damage to guavas and 80-90% on carambola and mountain apples (Syzygium malaccense). Losses to bananas affect the secondary income of women.
STATUS OF QUARANTINE SURVEILLANCE (as of October 2007): There are 11 trapping sites each with one Cue-lure and one methyl eugenol trap distributed over six islands or island groups: Koror (1), Airai (1), Aimeliik (1), Ngatpang (1), Ngeremlengui (1), Ngardmau (1), Ngaraard (1), Ngarchelong (1), Ngiwal (1), Melekeok (1), Ngchesar (1). Regularly sampled fruits for research and quarantine surveillance are capsicum, guava, mango, star fruits papaya, Syzygium apples, pacific almond and tomato. There are fruit fly posters and quarantine bins at the airport. There is a quarantine awareness program running on radio, in newspapers as well as in the schools. The Palauan public is very well aware of the fruit fly problem and the value of its eradication.