Pacific Fruit Fly Project

Pacifly is the Pacific 's fruit fly web page which contains information about economic and non economic species of fruit flies in all the Pacific Island Countries and Territorries. Fruitflies are serious pests throughout tropical and sub tropical countries. They constitute of one of the worlds major insect pest in fresh fruits and fleshy vegetables. In every PICT, there is at least one damaging endemic fruit fly species present. Fruitflies cause direct losses to  fruit production and  in instances  where exotic species became established in a country, very expensive eradication programes had to be carried out. The Pacifly aims to provide detailed information of everything related to Fruit flies.

Monday, 14 January 2013 10:16

CNMI is a chain of 14 islands, totaling 471 km². The three main islands are Saipan (122.9 km², 471 m high), Tinian (101.8 Km², 186 m high), and Rota (85.2 km², 491 m high). CNMI was a major focal point in fruit fly control research in the 1960's when, for the first time in history, oriental fruit fly was eradicated by male annihilation, protein bait spraying and sterile insect technique and melon fly was eradicated by sterile insect technique.

For information on fruit fly activities in CNMI, please contact:

Mr. Alejandro E Badilles (Ali)     Integrated Pest Management Coordinator
Northern Marianas CollegeCooperative Research Extension/ Education (Land Grant)
P O Box 879
Rota, MP 96951
Tel: (670) 532 9511    Fax:  (670) 532 9512
Email:    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Land Grant website:

CNMI Government website:

FRUIT FLY SPECIES: Oriental fruit fly (B. dorsalis) was introduced to CNMI and first detected in Saipan in 1935. It was eradicated from CNMI and Guam by an intensive male annihilation, protein bait spraying and sterile insect technique campaign that lasted between 1962 and 1965. Melon fly (B. cucurbitae) was also introduced to CNMI, from Guam, and first detected in 1943. It was successfully eradicated from all CNMI islands by sterile insect technique in 1963. It was reintroduced from Guam to Rota in 1981, to Saipan in 1986, and is now also equally widespread in Tinian and Agiguan. Bactrocera ochrosiae is the other species widespread and endemic to Guam and CNMI. This non-economic species is attracted to Cue-lure and its main host is Ochrosia mariannensis.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF FRUIT FLIES: Important damage by melon fly on cucurbit crops.

ACHIEVEMENTS: 1. Oriental fruit fly and melon fly eradicated from CNMI in the 1960's, but melon fly re-established. 2. Accumulated lots of data on biology, host plants, infestation levels and seasonal abundance of melon fly. 3. Developed a comprehensive Geographic Information System for eradication of melon fly. 4. A Socioeconomic study for the options of melon fly management and eradication in Guam and CNMI completed in July 2002. 5. In 2003, a workshop on fruit fly control strategies, biological control of ivory gourd and emergency response programs for fruit flies was carried out on 5 November in Saipan and 6 November in Rota. This workshop was attended by farmers, government representatives from the Department of Lands and Natural Resources and the Cooperative Research, Extension and Education Service (CREES).  The resource persons came from the University of Hawaii, USDA-ARS Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Centre in Hilo, Hawaii, USDA-APHIS representative in Guam and SPC Fruit Fly Management Component.  This workshop was aimed at creating an awareness to the farmers of the fruit fly control strategies and biological control of ivory gourd weed and training on the options available for fruit fly control.

CREES staff clearing fruit fly traps in Saipan (Photo: ET. Vueti)


STATUS OF QUARANTINE SURVEILLANCE (as of October 2007): There are 60 trapping sites on CNMI (27- Saipan, Rota - 25 and Tinian - 8), each with one Cue-lure and one Methyl eugenol trap. Samples of cucumbers are regularly collected to assess damage by melon fly.

Boyle, K. 1993. Eradicating the melon fly from Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: A benefit-cost analysis. United States Department of Agriculture - Soil Conservation Service. Report. 44pp.
Leblanc, L. 1997. Fruit fly fauna in Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Palau, Kiribati, Northern Marianas and Marshall Islands. pp. 64-67 in: Allwood, A.J., Drew, R.A. I. 1997. Management of Fruit Flies in the Pacific. ACIAR Proceedings No. 76. 267pp.
McGregor, A. 2000. A review of the economic feasibility of eradicating melon fly from Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. RMFFP report. 16pp.
McGregor, A., Vargas, R. 2002. The eradication of melon fly from Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: a benefit-cost analysis. 41pp.
Waterhouse, D.F. 1993. Pest fruit flies in the Oceanic Pacific. pp. 4-47 in: Biological control. Pacific Prospects. Supplement 2. ACIAR Monograph No 20. viiii+138pp.
Wong, T.Y., Cunningham, R.T., McInnis, D.O., Gilmore, J.E. 1989. Spatial distribution and abundance of Dacus cucurbitae (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Environmental Entomology. 18: 1079-1082.

Download Pest Advisory Leaflet on Melon Fly in English (192 Kb)