Watermelon and muskmelon crops are hosts of different insects which may cause crop loss. Melon Fruit flies [Bactrocera cucurbitae], is one of the most important insects which attck on the fruits of both watermelon and muskmelon crops.
Symptoms of infestation
- Holes on the fruits are observed where the maggot of fruit flies would have entered.
- Resinous fluid ooze out is observed at the place of hole and adjacent area.
- Fruit flies’ infested fruits will be usually malformed and many time distorted.
- Fruits may drop off even before maturing
- Fruit flies actually will not damage the fruits of melon rather their maggots are the damaging stage.
- The adult lays fertilized eggs on the young fruits or in/on flowers as well.
- The eggs hatch out in to maggots which get inside the fruits and start feeding on the pulp.
- The melon fruit fly remains active throughout the year on one or the other host.
Management of Fruit fly:
- Field sanitation
The most effective method in melon fruit fly management uses primary component- field sanitation. To break the reproduction cycle and population increase, growers need to remove all unharvested fruits or vegetables from a field by completely burying them deep into the soil. Burying damaged fruits 0.46 m deep in the soil prevents adult fly elusion and reduces population increase
- Use of Yellow glue- sticky trap
Scientific studies on insect behaviors have reported that yellow colour is attracted by various insects especially adult flies and moths. Some of the insect species to name are fruit flies, gnats, white flies, aphids, leafhoppers, leaf miners, fungus gnats, thrips, other flying pests.
So to trap the fruit flies and avoid egg laying, yellow coloured sheets (Usually tough paper) are applied with gum or oil and tied in the melon crop fields at the flowering stagae and maintained till harvesting. The fruit flies get attracted to yellow colour, as they approach the gum applied sheets, the gravid flies will get sticked and will be killed.
The fertilized (post mating) and unfertilized (Pre mating flies) both will get attracted to yellow colour will be killed as they find difficult to get rid off from the gum sheets.
The trapping can largely avoid the egg laying numbers on the melon crops’ flowers and fruits.
- Use of Para pheromone traps with lure
Melon Fruit flies[Bactrocera cucurbitae], female adults flies after mating lay eggs on the mlon crops’ flowers and young fruits. The eggs hatch out as maggots and enter and enter inside and starts feeding on the pulp.
- It is for sure only fertilized eggs tend to hatch out which are laid with proper copulation or mating. Adult flies’ [both male and female] emergence and egg laying happen in very short time and within that short time the mating has to happen. Within this time, if there is any disruption in copulation, the flies lay only unfertilised eggs which won’t fertilize and maggots never emerge out. One of the way to avoid the fertilisation is disrupting the mating.
Para pheromone (sex attractants) traps with female scent mimics are used to lure and attract male melon fruit flies at one place and kill them avoiding mating with females. This reduces the chances of females having copulation and lay the fertilised eggs where the maggots get hatched out and infest the melon fruits.
- Chemical control with insecticides
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