|Niue to resume surveillance|
|Tuesday, 29 January 2013 10:43|
Niue, being a small island nation, has unique fauna and flora. The fauna include four species of fruit fly — Bactrocera passiflorae, Bactrocera kirki, Bactrocera xanthodes and Bactrocera obscura. Fruit flies damage fruits by laying eggs in them and later these fruits fall to the ground, causing loss in production.
Surveillance of these fruit flies through trapping is the first step if a country wants to export fresh fruits to another country. The traps are loaded with female pheromones, namely CUE and Methyl Eugenol (ME). These lures are mixed with a poisonous chemical.
The male flies are attracted to the lures, and are killed in the trap. This method of trapping reduces the male population and, as a result, decreases the chances of a female fly meeting a male to mate with. Surveillance tells us what species of fruit fly are present in a country and also enables us study the populations of each species. Their distribution and mating patterns can also be studied through continuous surveillance. This information helps us to plan the planting and harvesting of our fruit crops in order to avoid damage by these flies.
Surveillance of these fruit flies had not been carried out for some time in Niue, so staff from the Biosecurity and Trade Team of the Land Resources Division visited Niue in December 2012 to conduct training for Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests (DAFF) staff and assist them in reviving the surveillance system by installing fruit fly traps around the island.
During the visit, the first day was allocated to training and capacity building for DAFF staff on the importance of surveillance and also on the procedures involved in carrying out surveillance. They were also introduced to how to mark coordinates of a certain location, using the Global Positioning System (GPS).
The next day the Biosecurity and Trade team assisted DAFF staff in setting up fruit fly traps around the island. The lures used were CUE and ME, as the fruit fly species in Niue were attracted to these lures only. Ten sites were selected and two traps were set at each site. The location of these traps was plotted using GPS.
Niue has now an efficient monitoring system in place for fruit flies and DAFF staff will continue to service these traps and monitor the fruit fly populations.