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.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 10:28

Vanuatu is a large country with 82 islands covering 12,189 km². There are six provinces.

Limited trapping and preliminary host fruit surveys for fruit flies were done by David Tau, from Vanuatu Government, in the 1970's, especially 1970-74. In early 1994, the Regional Fruit Fly Project (RFFP) posted a United Nations Volunteer (UNV), who trained the National counterpart staff until late 1995. A second UNV also worked in Vanuatu for one year in 1997-98. The national team is now conducting high profile fruit fly research with minimal need for supervision and technical advise from the Project. It is a convincing example of sustainability and national ownership of fruit fly activities. Fruit fly work is conducted by the Vanuatu government Department of Agriculture and Horticulture's Quarantine and Inspection Service (VQIS). A parallel 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 database.

The fruit fly research facility was established in early 1994 by renovating an existing building with funds from RFFP, into a fully functional unit that includes a fly rearing room, a fruit sample holding room, a conference room and an office. It is located near the airport. For more information, contact:

Mr Francis Qarani
Acting Principal Biosecurity Officer
Vanuatu Quarantine & Inspection Services
Address PMB 095
Port Villa
Tel: (678) 23519  Fax: (678) 23185
Email: f This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Consult also the Vanuatu quarantine site:


Fruits as "snack food" are a significant component of Pacific island diet (Photo: A. McGregor)


FRUIT FLY SPECIES: There are 12 species. There are three economically important species. Bactrocera trilineola is restricted to Vanuatu, but occurs on all islands where trapping or fruit surveys have been done and probably occurs on most of Vanuatu islands. Breadfruit fly (B. umbrosa) is equally common in Vanuatu. B. quadrisetosa (Bezzi) is a minor pest though it is widespread throughout its geographical range in Vanuatu. It is commonly recorded from only one host, Pacific lychee (Pometia pinnata). It is not attracted to any of the known male lures. Species of fruit flies that are not economically important include B. anomala (Drew), B. calophylli (Perkins and May), B. gracilis (Drew), B. minuta (Drew), B. redunca (Drew), B. simulata (Malloch), B. peneobscura Drew and Romig, B. neoxanthodes Drew and Romig, and Dacus taui Drew and Romig.  All of the non-economic species are attracted to Cue-lure, with the exception of B. noexanthodes and B. calophylli, that are not attracted to known male lures.

A complete species list, with distribution per province, is available on a separate page.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF FRUIT FLIES: Bactrocera trilineola attacks 95% of ripe guavas, 64% of ripe Malay apples and 11% of ripe mangoes. Breadfruit fly infests 30% of ripe breadfruits.


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. 2. Established permanent trapping sites in six provinces. 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 twelve species of fruit flies in Vanuatu (Tephritidae: Dacinae) and compiled host ranges for most species. Used this data as the basis for negotiations on quarantine protocols for export of fruits and vegetables.

Pest status: 5. Confirmed that only two species are of significant economic importance – B. trilineola and B. umbrosa. 6. Determined, by host surveys, the level of damage caused by fruit flies to guava (95%), nakavika (Syzygium malaccense) (64%), breadfruit (30%) and mango (11%). 7. Proved by extensive host surveys that the species in Vanuatu previously referred to as B. xanthodes is in fact a non-economic sibling species, and this conclusion has been accepted by New Zealand MAF Regulatory Authority.

Quarantine surveillance: 8. Modified the initial fauna surveys into an early warning system as part of Vanuatu's 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. trilineola, B. minuta and B. quadrisetosa reared on papaya-based diet and of B. umbrosa on breadfruit diet. 10. Completed studies on the life cycles and rates of development of B. trilineola in artificial diet and in papaya fruit and of B. quadrisetosa in papaya-based diet.

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 guava and citrus farmers. 12. Protein used for fruit fly control has recently been manufactured by  the Vanuatu Brewery. This protein made from brewery waste yeast is a food attractant for fruit flies.  The flies are killed when an insecticide is mixed with the protein.  This project was the result of collaborative funding between the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), AusAID and SPC.  The Vanuatu Quarantine and Inspection Service, Vanuatu Brewery and SPC Fruit Fly Management component are involved in the development of the new bait.  Field attractancy tests have been completed and the Van Lure should be commercialized soon once finalized. 13. Conducted a pilot study of potential of using bagging and protein bait spraying for fruit fly control at small village level, including a survey of household fruit consumption.


Protein bait production unit from brewery waste yeast (Photo: David Tau)




Host status and export markets: 14. Exported squash and "Conqueror" cucumber to New Zealand under non-host status quarantine treatment. Proved that ‘Queen’ pineapple and 'Long Red Cayenne' chilli, Tahitian limes and four varieties of cucumbers (Beth Alpha, Soarer, Supermarket and Sweet Slice) are not susceptible to fruit flies in Vanuatu. Of these, pineapple has been approved for export to New Zealand.

Heat treatments and export markets: 15. Generated data on the heat tolerances of early and late eggs, first instar and feeding and non-feeding third instars of B. trilineola. Testing has been completed and data has been submitted to New Zealand. 16. Since October 2002, a HTFA unit is operational in Vanuatu for postharvest heat treatments.

Development of National expertise: 17. Published in the ACIAR Proceedings No. 76 of the Symposium on the Management of Fruit Flies in the Pacific, two scientific papers on fruit flies in Vanuatu and published a Pest Advisory Leaflet on Fruit Flies in Vanuatu printed in English and in French. Published also a comprehensive fruit fly project procedure manual for Vanuatu, as well as a complete report on status of fruit flies in Vanuatu. 18. Provided training to farmers and exporters and government personnel of Vanuatu on the importance of fruit flies to production and national quarantine, identification, control methods, and quarantine treatments.

Emergency response planning: 19. Increased preparedness to detect quickly an incursion of an exotic fruit fly species and drafted an Emergency Response Plan to eradicate any introduction of a new unwanted species.

STATUS OF QUARANTINE SURVEILLANCE (as of October 2007): There are 38 trapping sites, each with one Cue-lure and one methyl eugenol trap. Number of sites :Port Vila urban (16), Port Vila rural (5), Santo (14). Samples of the following commodities are regularly collected for quarantine surveillance: guava, breadfruit, papaya, banana, soursop, tropical almond, Tahitian chestnut, citrus fruits, Syzygium apples, chilli, bittergourd, capsicum and tomato. 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. There is a quarantine awareness program running on the radio and in newspapers.

Allwood, A.J. 2000. Fruit flies in Vanuatu. SPC Pest Advisory Leaflet. 3pp. (also available in French)
A.J., Tumukon, T., Tau, D., Kassim, A. 1997. Fruit fly fauna in Vanuatu. pp.77-80 in: Allwood, A.J., and Drew, R.A I., Management of fruit flies in the Pacific. ACIAR Proceedings No 76. 267pp.
L., Tarilongi, B. 1998. Emergency response plan for fruit flies. Republic of Vanuatu. Draft. 22pp.
Drew, R.A.I., and M. Romig. 2001. The fruit fly fauna (Diptera: Tephritidae: Dacinae) of Bougainville, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Australian Journal of Entomology. 40, 113-150.
A. 1994. Regional Fruit Fly Project - Vanuatu. First progress report - January to April 1994. RFFP Publication. 4pp.
A. 1995. Regional Fruit Fly Project - Vanuatu. Second progress report - May to December 1994. RFFP Publication. 30pp.
B., Berukilukilu, L., Tau, D., Tumukon, T. 1997. Quarantine surveillance. System specification for detection of exotic species of fruit flies. Vanuatu Government - RMFFP Publication. 22pp.
B., Berukilukilu, L., Tau, D., Tumukon, T. 1997. Status of fruit flies (Family Tephritidae) and quarantine surveillance in Vanuatu as at September 1997. Vanuatu Government - RMFFP Publication. 39pp.
, 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.

Download Pest Advisory Leaflet on Fruit Flies in Vanuatu in English or in French (173 Kb)