The bait attracts the flies to the spot applied, where they feed on it together with the toxicant and die soon after.
To ensure the use of the bait on farms, Icipe and Kenya Biologics Ltd, with sponsorship from numerous partners, have set up a fruit fly protein bait factory in Murang’a for production of the protein, bringing it closer to the rural smallholder farmer.
“You may use a hand spray rather than a knapsack sprayer to apply weekly depending on the density of fruit flies on your farm,” Chris Kolenberg, the CEO, Kenya Biologics Ltd, said.
He added one should first test the flies’ presence by placing a vessel with the pheromone on the farm and constantly check for the fruit fly presence and upon verification, spray an area to attract the flies.
According to Icipe, fruit flies’ damage begin when they attack and lay their eggs in the fruit. The female fly implants its eggs into young fruits of the host plant.
The larvae or maggots develop in the flesh of untreated fruits by digging tunnels that provide opportunities for secondary infection when the larvae emerge from the fruit.
The growth of larvae accelerates maturation of the fruit, which detaches and falls to the ground. The larvae leaves the fruit and the pupae develops in the top few inches of the soil.
After it emerges from the soil, it starts looking for the nourishment it needs to reach sexual maturity, couple and lay eggs.
Many chemical pest-control products that farmers use contravene European Union’s Maximum Residue Level legislation standards for pesticides on horticultural produce, hence limiting access to export markets.
Horticulture experts have warned farmers of rising pressure from pests and insects.