Community participation in the regional Mediterranean fruit fly control efforts

Opher Mendelsohn

The Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) is a highly significant pest of deciduous and citrus crops, and much effort is invested in its control. In order to improve control efficacy and minimize pesticides’ use, a large scale regional integrated pest management project is carried out in Hanadiv valley during the recent years. The project methodology is an establishment of a regional management “umbrella”, based in part on placing mass trapping devices which do not distribute toxic pesticides to the environment.

The eco-friendly mass trapping method requires maintaining geographically continuous placement of devices, and avoiding “islands” of non protected areas which will continue to be focal sources for Medfly dispersal. Therefore, it is important to place mass trapping devices also within the residential communities themselves, where many fruit trees are growing in private yards and public gardens. Such placement could contribute to a significant suppression of Medfly population both inside the residential area and in the surrounding agricultural orchards. An important component of regional management is also fruits’ sanitation after harvest in as much area as possible, which requires cooperation with the residents who should do the same in their private yards and public gardens.
The regional sustainability initiative, in cooperation with the agricultural committee of Binyamina-Giv’at Ada, initiated in 2015 a project of community involvement in the regional project which is already carried out in the agricultural orchards. As part of the project, mass trapping devices were distributed free of charge to residents who grow fruit trees at home, and along the season professional advice is given by the agronomic team of the agricultural project.

Project goals:
1.    Improvement of Medfly eco-friendly management in the region
2.    Formulation of ways to cooperate with residents in Medfly eco-friendly management by increasing awareness of the issue, mapping and monitoring of activities, and public sharing of information.
3.    Study the effects of expanding mass trapping devices placement in an orderly and full manner within residential communities on Medfly activity, within both residential and surrounding agricultural areas.

Following a successful pilot project in 2015, mass trapping devices were distributed to residents also in 2016 with the assistance of the scouts’ movement, and also placed in public areas. In Giv’at Ada the devices were dispersed in all areas adjacent to agricultural orchards, including the northern neighborhood. Later on devices were also dispersed in all the eastern and southern areas of Binyamina which are adjacent to agricultural orchards.
Field monitoring of Medfly population fruits’ infestation level is carried out through the season, and data are available to view at any time on this page. The following map presents data of Medfly male and female population, collected every week from fifteen monitoring traps in the residential areas – nine in Giv’at Ada and six in Binyamina.
The map is updated on a weekly basis, presenting the average daily trapping in each trap along the former week. The long-term ambition is a reduction in Medfly population around the area, and click on each point of the graph shows the Medfly population trend along the recent weeks. It is important to note that females are causing the damage to fruits by stinging, and that Medfly population is also affected by fruits’ ripening in surrounding agricultural orchards.
In addition, the average fruits’ Medfly infection in the surrounding agricultural orchards is also presented, as a percentage of infected fruits.

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