Current rain spell likely to damage mango orchards in South Punjab

The fruit damaged by fruit flies are not safe to eat

By Bureau report
April 14, 2024
Raw Green Mangoes hanging in the bunch on a tree. — DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE Government of Punjab/File

MULTAN: Fruit fly is an invasive polyphagous pest of wild and cultivated soft-skinned fruits, which can cause widespread economic damage in fruit orchards.


The temperature and humidity brings extensive effects on fruit fly population dynamics. Fruit flies do not carry infectious agents on the inside of their bodies. They are not disease vectors. However, they can carry bacteria on the outside of their bodies and transmit them by contacting with fruits or vegetables, which can cause disease when consumed.

The fruit damaged by fruit flies are not safe to eat. If food was touched by fruit flies, there may be bacteria that causes disease.

The appropriate strategy is to remove the damaged area of the food or to dispose of it. However, there is no scientific evidence of diseases caused by eating a fruit fly. There is no scientific evidence that eating the fruit fly’s eggs can cause disease. The current rain spell in South Punjab is feared to bring an extremely negative impact on fruit orchards. The rain spell not only grows weeds, but it also encourages the growth of the most harmful fruit fly, which survives and develops inside fruits like mango and cannot be visible outside fruits.

European countries, the United States and Middle Eastern countries have restricted import of fruits carrying fruit flies, the farm experts said, adding, “Growers need to take measures according to the recommendations of the South Punjab Agriculture Department.”

The scientists said that the fruit flies were attracted to moist environments and food waste, especially fermenting fruits and vegetables. They also liked drains, garbage disposals, trash bags, empty cans and bottles, cleaning rags, and mops. A moist film of fermenting material is all that is needed for development. Fruit flies prefer to grow in the current temperate climates where they can access plenty of water. The optimum conditions for fruit flies are minimum and maximum temperatures of 22.77 to 27.77 degree Celsius. Female fruit flies can mate and lay several batches of eggs, allowing the fruit fly population in a home to multiply quickly.

The fruit flies target all types of fruits. However, in South Punjab mango is one of the country’s largest crops and is passing through maturity phase, facing a major threat from fruit flies.

The fruit flies also take shelter in weeds to damage the mango fruits and the growers should ensure prevention of fruit flies from weeds also.

The rest of host plants of the fruit fly, include guava, loquat, jamon and value-added fruits. The fruit fly reproduces by staying inside the fruit and grows up and enters the ground from the fruit and remains in the ground in the form of a pupa. There are four types of fruit flies in Punjab province, including oriental fruit fly, peach fly, melon fly and plum fly. All flies have almost the same life cycle, officials at the Punjab Directorate of Agriculture Information said. Fruit flies can develop into adults within one to two weeks. The egg and larval stages span approximately eight days, while the pupal stage lasts six days. The adult fruit fly lives for several weeks. Twenty-four hours after a female fruit fly lays her eggs, larvae hatch.

The number of fruit fly growth is observed high from April to November. After mating, the female flies then lay eggs inside the fruit and continue breeding. Methyl eugenol is used to control the male fly, which is extremely attractive to the fruit fly. The use of pheromone traps has improved the method of fruit fly control in fruit orchards, which is the best male pest control treatment. Pheromone solutions are prepared from methyl, eugenol and malathion, the mango experts said. It is dipped in this solution and placed in round plastic traps at the rate of six traps per acre.

It also reduces the use of pesticides for fruit fly control by 80pc to 90pc for the growers. The growers also soak cotton sacks in syrup and spray a small amount of trichlorophenol on them.

The agriculture officials informed that the damaged fruit fallen in the orchards should be buried in the ground by digging a hole and after picking the fruit, it should be kept in a 5pc salt solution for 60 minutes, which will kill the eggs of the fruit fly. The growers should be sure to apply it to other host plants, vegetables and herbs for fruit fly control.