|Wednesday, 16 January 2013 09:16|
Solomon Islands is a large country that counts 922 islands covering 28,370 km². There are nine provinces, each with its own government.
Solomon Islands has a large diversity of fruit fly species. In his taxonomic monograph, Drew (1989) cited 29 species as occurring in the country. In his latest review (Drew and Romig, 2001), he states that Solomon Islands fauna comprises 39 previously described and 9 new species.
Fruit flies became a major priority in Solomon Islands in 1984, when melon fly appeared in Shortland Islands (Western Province). In spite of efforts to eradicate the species, it has gradually spread eastward, now covering all provinces except Makira, Rennell-Bellona and Temotu. Farmers have virtually abandoned cucurbit growing everywhere melon fly has appeared. Solomon Islands occupy a critical position in the Pacific, as a gateway for dispersal of pest fruit flies from Papua New Guinea into other PICTs.
The Regional Fruit Fly Projects involvement in Solomon Islands commenced in April 1994, when a United Nations Volunteer (UNV) was posted at Dodo Creek Research Station. Three UNVs have worked in Solomon Islands until April, 2000. Fruit fly activities are coordinated by a National Coordinating Committee, formed in early 1996 and consists of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), the Chief Technical Advisor of the Fruit Fly Project, the UNV, and the Directors of Research, Extension and Quarantine under MAF. A major partner organization is Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT), a non-governmental organization that covers a network of village demonstration workers from over 250 villages in all provinces. A parallel fruit fly project was also conducted by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR) to support research on fruit fly surveys, development of field control and development of a database.
The fruit fly research facility, renovated with funds from RFFP, was located at Dodo Creek Research Station, on Guadalcanal until early 2000. For security reasons, the fruit fly laboratory was relocated in January 2000 to the Malaria Research Centre, in Honiara. For more information, contact:
Mr. Francis Tsatsia, Director of Quarantine
Village demonstration workers from Solomon Islands Development Trust
FRUIT FLY SPECIES: There are 48 described species. A complete list, with distribution per province, is presented separately from this page. There are four economic species. Mango fly (B. frauenfeldi) and breadfruit fly (B. umbrosa) are widespread and common in every province. Dacus solomonensis has been collected in all provinces except Rennell-Bellona and Temotu. Melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae) has spread into Solomon Islands from PNG. It was detected on Shortland Islands in September 1984, in Western Province in June 1985, in Isabel in 1988, and in Guadalcanal and Malaita in 1995.
Surveys: 1. Established and maintained a fruit fly rearing laboratory and laboratories for holding fruit samples collected in the field and undertaking heat tolerance studies at Dodo Creek Research Station. The facility was recently relocated to the Malaria Centre in Honiara. 2. Established, with the assistance of Extension and Quarantine, permanent trapping sites on nine islands of the Solomon Islands. Trap sites made up of one trap baited with methyl eugenol and one with Cue-lure. 3. Collected and held in the laboratory for adult fly emergence commercial/edible and wild/forest fruit samples. 4. Determined that there are 48 species of fruit flies in Solomon Islands (Tephritidae: Dacinae) and compiled host ranges for nine species. Used this data as the basis for negotiations on quarantine protocols for export of fruits and vegetables.
Pest status: 5. Confirmed that four species are of economic importance – Bactrocera frauenfeldi, B. cucurbitae, B. umbrosa and Dacus solomonensis. 6. Determined, by host surveys, the level of damage caused by fruit flies to guava (30%), pumpkin (60-87%) and snake gourd (>90%). 7. Collaborated with Solomon Islands Development Trust village demonstration workers in assessing fruit fly damage on various crops at village level in the Western Province, and during SIDT biennial meeting in Honiara.
Quarantine surveillance: 8. Modified the initial fauna surveys into an early warning system as part of Solomon Islands’ overall quarantine surveillance system. Trapping focused on high-risk locations, such as tourist resorts, urban areas, educational institutions for overseas students, markets, farming areas, diplomatic missions and ports of entry.
Laboratory colonies: 9. Established laboratory colonies of B. frauenfeldi and B. cucurbitae reared on papaya-based diet, B. umbrosa reared on breadfruit diet, and D. solomonensis reared on whole cucurbit fruit. 10. Undertook research into improving rearing techniques for B. cucurbitae and D. solomonensis. 11. Completed studies on the life cycles and rates of development of B. frauenfeldi in artificial diet.
Field control: 12. Carried out preliminary tests for control of fruit flies on guava in mixed orchards using Mauri's Pinnacle Protein Insect Lure. 13. Imported from Hawaii, reared and released and established in Guadalcanal and Western Province Psyttalia fletcheri, a parasitoid used for biological control of melon fly.
Host status and export markets: 14. Used the laboratory and field tests to determine non-host status for fruits and vegetables developed by the RMFFP and the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Regulatory Authority. 15. Proved that pineapple is not susceptible to fruit flies in Solomon Islands and New Zealand accepted results. An export protocol was developed but exports have not yet started.
Heat treatments and export markets: 16. Generated preliminary data on the heat tolerances of early and late eggs, first instar and feeding and non-feeding third instars of B. frauenfeldi.
Development of National expertise: 17. Published in the ACIAR Proceedings No. 76 of the Symposium on the Management of Fruit Flies in the Pacific, four scientific papers on fruit flies in Solomon Islands and published a Pest Advisory Leaflet on Fruit Flies in Solomon Islands. A handbook on fruit flies for extension and quarantine workers published. Comprehensive status report on fruit flies in Solomon Islands drafted. 18. Provided training to farmers and exporters and government personnel of Solomon Islands on the importance of fruit flies to production and national quarantine, identification, control methods, and quarantine treatments. 19. Conducted two major workshops for Village Demonstration Workers of Solomon Islands Development Trust to demonstrate fruit bagging and protein bait spraying. Fruit fly control has become an essential component of SIDT programme.
Emergency response planning: 20. Increased preparedness to detect quickly an incursion of an exotic fruit fly species and formulated an Emergency Response Plan to eradicate any introduction of a new unwanted species.
STATUS OF QUARANTINE SURVEILLANCE (as of October 2007): There are 37 trapping sites on six islands: Honiara (12 sites), Malaita (2), Choiseul (7),Gizo (4), Munda (3), Noro (3), Vella Lavella (1) and Shortland Islands (5). All data from trapping and host fruit surveying are preserved on Excel databases. There are fruit fly posters at the airport and wharf as well as quarantine bins at the airport.
During the 2011 Festival of Pacific Arts which was held in Honiara, extra fruit fly traps were installed in high risk areas and festival sites in order to monitor any foreign introduction of fruit flies during this event
Download Pest Advisory Leaflet on Melon Fly in English (192 Kb)