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 11:01


Fiji Islands (18,333 km²) is composed of 322 islands, over 100 of which are inhabited. Most islands are clustered around two main large islands: Viti Levu (10,429 km², 1323m) and Vanua Levu (5,556 km², 1032m). The small island of Rotuma (47 km², 256m) is isolated in the north and inhabited by people of  Polynesians descent.

Trapping and host fruit survey for fruit flies was first initiated with the work of Simmonds in 1935. At the same time, parasitoids were imported and released in Fiji Islands for fruit fly biological control. Of ten species imported from Hawaii and Australia between 1929 and 1954, six species became established. Major fruit fly parasitoid surveys in Fiji Islands were done in 1951, 1961-63 (Hinkley, 1965), 1968 (Cochereau, 1968), and 1985-86, by Fiji Department of Agriculture.

In 1990, Fiji Islands became the host country to the Regional Fruit Fly Project. Many of the research and control methods used by the Project were developed in Fiji Islands. Fruit fly activities in Fiji Islands are coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests (MAFF). The fruit fly research facility is located at Koronivia Research Station, near Suva. For more information, contact:

Dr. Apaitia Macanawai, Senior Research Officer
Koronivia Research Station, PO Box 77, Nausori, Fiji Islands
Phone: (679) 347-7044          FAX: (679) 340-0262
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

FRUIT FLY SPECIES: There are seven species. Pacific fruit fly (B. xanthodes) and B. distincta are present all over Fiji Islands, including Rotuma. B. passiflorae is widespread in Fiji Islands, but absent from Rotuma. B. kirki and B. obscura (a non-economic species attracted to Cue-lure), two species widespread in Polynesia, are restricted to Rotuma in Fiji Islands. The non-economic B. gnetum, not attracted to male lures, has been reared from Gnetum gnemon in Vanua Levu. B. species near passiflorae, a light coloured form that comes to Cue-lure, is present in Fiji Islands (but not Rotuma), Tuvalu, Tokelau, and the Niuas Island group of Tonga.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE: Damage assessment data on B. passiflorae in Viti Levu shows that it infests 60 % of ripe kumquats, 40-90% of ripe guavas, 62% of ripe kavikas (Syzygium malaccense), and 20-25% of ripe mangoes.


Surveys. 1. Established and maintained, with MAFF, a fruit fly rearing laboratory and laboratories for holding fruit samples collected in the field and undertaking heat tolerance studies at Koronivia Research Station. 2. Established, with the assistance of Extension and Quarantine, permanent trapping sites on fifteen islands of the Fiji Islands. Trap sites made up of one trap baited with methyl eugenol and one with Cue-lure. Many of these sites also have Medfly traps. 3. Collected and held in the laboratory for adult fly emergence 5807 commercial/edible and wild/forest fruit samples, amounting to 4480kg of fresh fruit and vegetable samples and belonging to 86 plant families and covering 200 genera and 279 species of plants (host survey data as of late 1999). 4. Determined that there are five species of fruit flies in the main Fiji Islands (Bactrocera passiflorae, B. xanthodes, B. distincta, B. gnetum and B. near passiflorae (a new species) and compiled host ranges for all species. Confirmed that B. obscura and B. kirki occur in Rotuma. Used this data as the basis for negotiations on quarantine protocols for export of fruits and vegetables.5. Intensive host survey initiated on Rotuma Island to ascertain host range for the fruit fly species on the island to assist in their Area wide program.

Pest status. 5. Confirmed that only two species are of economic importance – B. passiflorae and B. xanthodes. 6. Determined, by host surveys, the level of damage caused by fruit flies to guava (40-90%), mangoes (up to 25%), kumquat (60%), kavika (62%), and other crops. Fleshy vegetables are virtually free from fruit fly infestation.

Quarantine surveillance. 7. Modified the initial fauna surveys into an early warning system as part of the Fiji 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.  Fruit fly surveillance during the June 2003 South Pacific Games (SPG) involved placement of fruit fly traps (2 sites) in the Games Village with weekly monitoring and clearances carried out by the Fiji Quarantine Officers.  To-date, there has not been any new fruit fly species found in the traps.


Fiji Quarantine & Inspection Officers clearing fruit fly traps in SPG 2003 games village (Photo: N. Waqa)

Laboratory colonies. 8. Developed and adapted laboratory rearing techniques for three species of fruit flies, B. xanthodes, B. passiflorae and B. distincta, using various artificial diets and egging devices. 9. Undertook research into the relative effectiveness of artificial diets consisting of papaya, papaya/baggasse, breadfruit and dehydrated carrots. 10. Completed studies on the life cycles and rates of development in artificial diet and in fruits such as eggplant, papaya and breadfruit.

Field control. 11. Developed a package for field control of fruit flies, based on sound crop hygiene, bagging of fruits and protein bait sprays. Adopted by farmers and exporters as a component of export pathways for papaya, eggplant, mango, chilli and breadfruit. 12. Commenced research to modify waste yeast from the Fiji Bitter Brewery as an inexpensive source of protein for protein bait spray (with excess being available as protein additive for stock-feed). Saving in using local source of protein is substantial – FJD5.00 per liter compared to FJD35.00 for Mauri Pinnacle Protein Insect Lure imported from Australia.  13. Area Wide IPM for fruit flies program commenced when staff from Fiji attended hands-on training on Area Wide IPM control methods and fruit fly parasitoid rearing in Hawaii.  This training is the start of the Area Wide IPM program that will be initiated on the island of Rotuma, the northernmost island in the Fiji Islands.  The fruit fly parasitoid, Fopius arisanus, rearing has also begun at the Koronivia Research Station in February 2003 as a result of this training in Hawaii.

Technology transfer. 14. Assisted with the transfer of technology on fruit fly surveys using trapping and host sampling and laboratory rearing techniques for fruit flies to other Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs), by hosting hands-on attachment training for plant protection, quarantine and extension staff.

Host status and export markets. 15. Used, for the first time in the Pacific, 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. 16. Exported ‘Hot Rod’ and ‘Red Fire’ chilli varieties under non-host status quarantine treatment. Proved that ‘Smooth Cayenne’, ‘Viamama’ and ‘Ripley Queen’ pineapple from colour break to fully ripe, cucumber, bitter gourd, squash/pumpkin, and other gourds are not susceptible to fruit flies in Fiji Islands. 17. Provided data on the risk of various fresh fruits and vegetables to fruit fly infestation and assisted with the development of the special packaging that allowed the transshipment of fresh fruit fly host commodities through Hawaii to Canadian markets.

Heat treatments and export markets. 18. Generated data on the heat tolerances of early and late eggs, first instar and feeding and non-feeding third instars and had these data accepted by New Zealand and Australia. 19. Undertook commercial-scale confirmatory tests for export of papaya, eggplant, pickling and fresh mangoes and breadfruit using forced hot air and submitted research reports to New Zealand MAF for approval of the treatment. Quarantine treatment uses forced hot air to raise the core temperature of the largest fruit placed in the coolest spot in the chamber, determined by thermal mapping, to 47.2°C and hold it at that temperature for 20 minutes before hydro-cooling. 20. Assisted Quarantine in developing quarantine pathways for export of commodities in 18 to New Zealand.

21. From November 1996 to December 1998, 209 tonnes of papaya (value of FJD836,048), 143 tonnes of mango (value of FJD429,843) and 254 tonnes of eggplant (value of FJD891,695) were exported to New Zealand, using the forced hot air treatment. Total value was FJD 2,157,586. 22. Undertook confirmatory tests for papaya for export to Australia and submitted the results to Australia. Papayas are likely to become soon exportable to Australia.23. Approval for the export of papaya to Australia was given in 2004 and by end of 2004, close to 19 tonnes of papaya was exported.

Visits to study the Fiji fruits and vegetable export system was conducted for most of the participants that were attending the IMPEXTEK training program at SPC. This included participants from Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Marshal Islands, FSM, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Niue who studied the system to assist for their individual market access submissions.

a)  (b

a) Forced hot air unit for treatment of fruits for export as an alternative to fumigation (Photo: L. Leblanc)

b) Fresh Produce Export System Training Manual Photo: N Waqa)

Development of National expertise. 24. Published in the ACIAR Proceedings No. 76 of the Symposium on the Management of Fruit Flies in the Pacific, nine scientific papers on fruit flies in Fiji Islands and published a Pest Advisory Leaflet on Fruit Flies in Fiji Islands. 24. Two Plant Protection staff undertaking Masters Degrees at tertiary institutions in Fiji Islands and Australia. 25. Hosted training of plant protection, quarantine and extension staff from Fiji Islands and ten other PICTs in fruit fly management, identification, emergency response planning, eradication techniques so that there is an harmonized approach to fruit flies in the Pacific. 26. Provided technical assistance by MAFF staff in the fruit fly programme in Vanuatu and in the very successful Fruit Fly Eradication Programme in Nauru. 27. Provided training to farmers and exporters and government personnel of Fiji Islands on the importance of fruit flies to production and national quarantine, identification, control methods, and quarantine treatments.28. Fiji Quarantine BQA Coordinator was in NZ to see the quality of Fiji's commodities in comparison to commodities from other countries and took note of urgent issues that needed attention to improve it's performance in the market.29. SPC/MOA jointly developed a Fresh Produce Export Systems Training Manual which was launched in September 2006. Manual documents all the procedures involved in the export of fresh produce (fruit fly and non-fruit fly hosts) to new Zealand.30. Fiji's leading fruit fly scientist was funded by SPC Biosecurity to attend and make presentations on Fijis' fruit fly programs at the Sixth Annual Meeting & Review of the Hawaii Fruit Fly Area Wide Pest Management (AWPM) program. Apart from attending the meeting and making presentations, she also visited and studied the Area Wide field programs in Hilo, as well as the sterilization, parasites and fruit fly mass rearing facilities in Honolulu.

Emergency response planning. 30. 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 142 trapping sites, with one Cue-lure and one methyl eugenol trap, on ten islands (or island groups): Viti Levu (72 sites plus Trimed 27), Vanua Levu (19 plus 2 Trimed), Ovalau (12 plus 4 Trimed), Kadavu (4), Yasawa Group (8), Taveuni (9), Rotuma (9), Makogai (2),  Beqa (2),  Moala-Lau Group (1), Vanuabalavu (1), Lakeba (1) and Malolo (2). Regularly sampled fruits for research and quarantine surveillance are breadfruit, chilli, citrus fruits, guava, mango, Pacific almond, papaya, and Syzygium apples as well as some rainforest fruits. All trapping and host fruit survey data are compiled on Excel spreadsheets. There are fruit fly posters at the airport and the wharf, as well as quarantine bins at the airport. Contents of the amnesty bin at one of the international airports, Nausori, are collected and taken after every international flights to Koronivia Research Station for assessment. A quarantine awareness programme is run on the radio, in newspapers and schools. A short quarantine awareness film has recently been produced and is shown to incoming passengers on airplanes.

Cochereau, P. 1968. Recherches de parasites des mouches des fruits aux lies Fiji. Centre ORSON de Noumea, 26pp. autograph. 
Hinckley, A.D. 1965.
Fruit fly infestation and parasitization in Fiji. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society. 19: 91-95.  
HOW. 1936. Fruit fly investigations, 1935. Department of Agriculture, Fiji. Bulletin No. 19: 1-18. 
HOW. 1937. Fruit fly. Fiji Agricultural Journal. 8:23.
Tora Vueti, E
. Technical report on heat tolerance studies and confirmatory studies using high temperature forced air as a quarantine treatment for the disinfestation of fruit flies in Fiji. (Draft) 20pp. 
Tora Vueti, E. 2000
. Fruit flies in Fiji Islands. SPC Pest Advisory Leaflet. Draft. 4pp.
Tora Vueti, E., Allwood,
E.G.., Leweniqila, L., Ralulu, L., Balawakula, A., Malau, A., Sales, F., Peleti, K. 1997. Fruit fly fauna in Fiji, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Tokelau and Nauru. pp. 60-63 in: Allwood, E.G.., and Drew, RAVI. 1997. Management of fruit flies in the Pacific. ACIAR Proceedings No 76. 267pp. 
Tora Vueti, E
., Leweniqila, L. 2001. Technical report on the status of fruit flies in Fiji Islands - 1990-1999. 42pp.
Tora Vueti, E., Ratucicivi, L. 1
999. Emergency response plan for fruit flies in Fiji. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, Republic of Fiji. 32pp.
, GAP. 1992. Report on progress in Fiji on the Project. Fruit Fly control strategies in the Pacific. October, 1990 to July, 1992. 17pp.
Waterhouse, DOFF. 1993. Pest fruit flies in the Oceanic Pacific. pp. 4-47 in: Biological control. Pacific Prospects. Supplement 2. ACIAR Monograph No 20. viiii+138pp.

Download Pest Advisory Leaflet on Fruit Flies in Fiji Islands in English (135 Kb)