Dragon Fruit Info
STUDY OF INSECT PESTS AND DEVELPMENT OF THEIR CONTROL MEASURES ON DRAGON FRUIT
Management of Pests and Diseases
Le Quoc Dien and Nguyen Van Hoa
The study was conducted between 2003 to 2012 to: 1) identify the damage caused by insect pests; and 2) set up IPM model for ants and fruit flies in the dragon fruit fields in three provinces (Tien Giang, Long An and Binh Thuan) in southern Vietnam. Results showed dragon fruit were most affected by ants and fruit flies. Evenly distributed on all surveyed areas, 7 species of ant and 3 species of fruit fly infested dragon fruit were identified. SOFRI trukien® and SOFRI protein® applications, field sanitary practices, traps reduced fruit fly population but no single method was able to guarantee sustainable control of ants and fruit flies. SOFRI protein® (hydrolysed protein yeast waste mixed with fipronil 5SC 3ml) was effective to control fruit flies when spot-sprayed onto the branch. On IPM dragon fruit orchards, the number fruit flies trapped by methyl eugenol was very low, and the fruit yields of these orchards were clearly higher compared to untreated orchards.
ants, fruit flies, insect pests, dragon fruit, pitaya, methyl eugenol, SOFRI TruKien®, protein bait.
Ants and fruit flies are of significant economic concern in the fruit tree industry in tropical countries (White and Elson-Harris, 1992; Nguyen Thi Thu Cuc 2000). Some of them attack a wide range of fruits (Vargas et al. 1984; White and Elson-Harris 1992; Nguyen van Nam, 2005). They display high reproductive rates, and great dispersal capacity (Peterson and Denno 1998; Nguyen Thi Thu Cuc 2000), thus making the problem more difficult to tackle. Currently, their control management heavily depends on insecticides (Roessler 1989; Stonehouse et al. 1998; Jessup et al. 2007; Nguyen Huu Huan 2005). The most common insecticides against ants and fruit flies are those belonging to the groups of organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates (Besser and Gutmann 1994; Van Mele et al. 2001; Raga and Sato 2005; Jessup et al. 2007; Nguyen Huu Huan 2005). They normally provide a high and consistent level of protection (Allwood 1997), but it is necessary to develop alternative control strategies which are equally effective and friendly to the agro-ecosystems.
Dragon fruit (Hylocerus undatus)is the most important fruit in South Vietnam in terms of value and amount of production, representing a major source of income in many farming households. However, the presence of ants and fruit flies and other serious pests has caused severe damage to the local production and created a barrier to Vietnam’s access to world markets. In the southern provinces of Vietnam, 30 fruit fly and 7 ant species have been recorded and they infest numerous kinds of fruit and agricultural produce such citrus, longan, lychee, mango, plum, apple, dragon fruit and cucurbit vegetables (Drew et al. 2001; Le QuocDien et al. 2009). Among the six fruit fly species of economic importance that are present in Vietnam, two species, namely the oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis and the guava fruit fly Bactrocera correcta, are considered to be associated with dragon fruit as their fruit host (Drew et al. 2001). Up to now, there has been no complete effective control measure and farmers usually have to harvest fruits at an early date to minimize the yield and quality loss (Drew et al. 2001). For many years, fruit growers in Vietnam have depended heavily on a broad-spectrum of insecticides (Dien and Cuc 2007).
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) combines the use of healthy and resistant plant varieties, beneficial organisms, cultural practices and biological pesticides in order to reduce chemical sprays for cost saving and being environmentally safe (Schulten 1997). Through a participatory approach, IPM improves farmers’ understanding of local ecosystems, enabling farmers to make decisions on pest management that are safe and cost effective (Alston 2011; FAO undated). In ants and fruit fly control, the main focus has been on the development of management practices that are in line with the concepts of IPM (Allwood 1997; Vo Huu Thoai et al. 2012). This report will address the following specific topics:
The current composition of insect pests communities in dragon orchards of TienGiang, Long An and BinhThuan Provinces;
The differences in ant and fruit fly abundances and infestation percentages between dragon orchards sprayed with fipronil protein bait and those with conventional management and no protein bait use;
The impact of ants and fruit flies abundance and diversity; and
SOFRI Trukien® and SOFRI Protein® on ants and fruit flies.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The research was undertaken in fruit growing regions of Tien Giang Province’s Cho Gao, Long An’s Long Tri District, and BinhThuan’s Ham Thuan Nam. The mean annual rainfall of the province is around 1,500 mm with the rainy season from December until May (Hien et al. 2006). The main dragon fruit cultivars planted are white, red, pink color with
3 to 10 year old plants. Most of the dragon orchards are less than 3,000 m2 in size and managed by small-scale farming households. Dragon fruit is planted at a density of 1000 poles/ha. A total of seven sites were selected on the basis of the ease of access and similarity in dragon fruit varieties, and soil types.
Composition of Protein Bait and Ant Bait:
SOFRI Protein ®: Protein, 21.52%; NH4+ 0.11%; Brix, 13% (Chemical Insitute 2013). SOFRI Trukien®: Fructose: 50% (Chemical Insitute 2014)
Applications of Protein Bait and Ant Bait
An area of approximately 1 to 500 ha of dragon fruit orchards was sprayed with insecticidal protein bait sprays (SOFRI Protein® 10 DD) to control fruit flies; area of approximately 1 to 20 ha of dragon fruit orchards was paint with borax (3%) plus SOFRI Trukien® to control ants. Hereinafter, I refer to SOFRI Protein® as the commercial product of toxic hydrolysed protein bait developed by the Southern Fruit Research Institute of Viet Nam (SOFRI). It includes a 100 ml bottle of hydrolysed protein bait and a 4 ml sachet of fipronil 5% supplied by Can Tho Pesticide Co. SOFRI Protein® 10 DD bait and fipronil 5% were diluted into 900 ml of water to prepare one litre of solution. The spot applications were sprayed on lower canopy foliage along the tree rows with each dragon fruit tree receiving approximately 50 ml of the solution. SOFRI Protein® was applied between 8 to 10 AM for four times on a weekly schedule in January, March, and October. A team of four members of the commune agricultural cooperative was responsible for spraying across 500 ha of dragon fruit orchards so that the area-wide treatment with SOFRI Protein® was attained within one day; SOFRI Trukien ® was applied between 8 AM and 4 PM for three times on a weekly schedule.
Trap Construction and Deployment
Traps were made on the basis of the Steiner trap principle (IAEA 2003) using plastic bottles. A trap was a vertical, clear plastic container about 20 cm high and 15 cm in diameter with three opening flaps (10 cm × 3 cm) cut equidistantly around the side of the bottle that allowed fruit flies to enter and feed on the lure. A metal wire was punctured through the centre of the bottle lid with a hanger on one end used to hang the trap from tree branches. The other end of this wire was hooked through the lid with a cotton ball suspended at the centre of the inside of the trap. The cotton ball was soaked with 3 ml of the mixture of an attractant (methyl eugenol, Cure lure) and insecticide (20% Pyrinex 20EC) to kill the target flies.
At each site, three traps were placed in the centre of the dragon orchard at a height of approximately 2 m above the ground and with a trap-to-trap distance of about 20 m. Male flies were attracted by the lure and promptly killed by the insecticide. Traps were set once a month for one week. Dragon orchards were monitored for 12 months, giving a total of 5 trapping periods.
Collection of Host Fruit
In addition, samples of ripe and unripe fruit of dragon fruit were collected to further investigate the fruit fly community. One plant collected randomly 4 fruit at 4 site of plant (north, south, east and west) in Cho Gao district, Long Tri district and Ham Thuan Nam district. Fruit were then taken to the laboratory and placed in separate plastic containers for each type. Fruit were incubated for two weeks at the room temperature of 27oC to check for any fruit fly emergence.
Fruit flies captured in the traps were dried at the temperature of 50°C for 24 hours before being sorted and counted. Identification of fruit flies is based on the illustration guide of R.A.I. Drew (1987). Some specimens of fruit flies were sent to R.A.I. Drew for confirmation.
Differences in the numbers of fruit flies captured between treatment and non-treatment sites were measured. Traps were considered as individual samples for analysis, in which the data were square root transformed to prevent overweighting the most abundant species (Clark and Warwick 2001). An analysis of similarities was conducted to test whether the fruit fly communities between sites, months and treatments were statistically different from each other. Student t-tests were performed to assess the differences in fruit fly abundances between treatments for fruit fly. Comparisons were based on the mean number of fruit flies captured in treated and untreated sites for each moth of the trapping period. Trap catches for each species were square root transformed [√(x + 0.5)] and log (x+1) to achieve data homogeneity before analysis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Pest Abundances and Composition
A total of 1,325 specimens of pests were collected by vacuum machine in 12 months, comprising Diptera, Thysanoptera, Coleoptera, Homoptera, Lepidoptera, and
Hymenoptera. The pest populations of dragon orchards in Tien Giang were dominated by Diptera; about 83% in bud stage; 76% in flowering stage; 86% in fruit set stage; and 90% in fruit ripen stage. Hymenoptera had the second highest abundance, about 17%
in bud stage; 6% in flowering stage; 2% in fruit set stage; and 6% in fruit ripen stage. Other families shared about 6% of the total collections (Table 1).
Table 1. Insects collected on different stages of dragon fruit
There are many other pests (Table 2) in surveyed dragon orchards. Among them ants and fruit fly causeed highest damage to dragon orchards (Table 2).
Table 2. Pests associated with dragon fruit in Vietnam
Ants on Dragon Fruit
There were different species of ant on dragon fruit at 8 AM (Table 3). Collected ants were also infected with bacteria and fungi (Table 4), which may afflict on dragon fruit. About 26% of ant specimen infected with unidentified bacteria, 24% with Fusarium sp., 24% with unknown microorganisms, 14% with unidentified fungi, 5% with fungus Curvularia sp., 5% with Trichoderma sp., and 2% with Aspegillus sp.
Table 3. List of ant species on different stages in dragon fruit orchard
Table 4. Bacteria and fugi attached on ant body.
*Not yet identified
Odorous ants will readily seek out honeydew (Smith 1928). Honeydew is collected by ant workers from honey dew-excreting insects such as aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs and membracidae (Smith 1965). Ant workers have also been observed visiting floral and extract floral nectaries of plants (Smith 1965). Figure 1 shows that ants were most active on dragon fruit from April to June.
Figure 1. Number of ants on young shoot, bud, flower, young fruit and ripe fruit.
SOFRI trukien® baits for controlling ants: Ant baits consist of an attractive fructose and a toxicant. The most effective ant baits have a slow acting toxicant that allows the ants to pick up the bait and bring it back to the nest where they can share it with other members of the colony. This method of control provides several advantages. One of them is that colonies do not have to be located for control to be effective. Results show that ants were attracted to the bait one minute right after placing it. After 120 minutes, number of ants attracted with 50% fructose was similar to higher concentrations of fructose (Table 5). In addition to baiting, an effective ant management program should also include good SOFRI Trukien® trap practices to prevent ants from orchard (Hedges 1998; Silverman and Roulston 2001).
Table 5. Attraction of ants with different concentrations of fructose in SOFRI Trukien
Legend: **: Means in a column followed by a common letter are significantly different at P 0.05 by Duncan. Data number of ants were transformed log(x+1) with x trap catches for each ant.
Fruit Fly on Dragon Fruit
Fruit fly in different ecological areas: The fruit fly was collected from methyl eugenol (ME) and CuE traps. Three fruit flies (Bactrocera) species were identified. The CuE traps collected 2 fruit flies species and the ME traps 3 species. The results showed that methyl eugenol is a powerful sex attractant to B. dorsalis (Table 6). The result is in line with reports of Allwood (1997) and Vayssieres et al. (2007), and similar to those of previous research conducted in South Vietnam (Drew et al. 2001b) and in Thailand (Orankanok et al. 2007) where B. cucurbitae and B. tau were confirmed to be major fruit flies on dragon fruit orchards. Therefore ME traps are useful to measure the populations of Bactrocera species (Vayssieres et al. 2007, 2009a). ME trap collected the number of Bactrocera dorsalis in Tien Giang, Long An and Binh Thuan areas are more than B. correcta and B.carambolae. As a result of a national survey of fruit fly communities in dragon fruit growing regions, CuE trap collected the number of B. cucurbitae in the Tien Giang and Long An areas are more abundant than B. tau (Table 7).
Table 6. Species and number fruit fly in dragon fruit zone by methyl eugenol trap (ME)
Table 7. Species and number fruit fly in dragon fruit zone by Cure lure trap (CuE)
Host of fruit flies: Among 5,190 samples (fruits) collected, there were 392 infected plants,and various levels of infection with different stages of fruit development (Table 8). And five Bactrocera species were detected, but only B. dorsalis, B. correcta and B. cucurbitae dominated (Table 9).
Table 8. Fruit flies collected on dragon fruit in the south of VietNam (2003-2012)
Table 9. Fruit fly species in host fruit in Viet Nam from 2003-2012.
(*) Note: BDO: B. dorsalis; BCO: B. correcta; BCU: B. cucurbitae; BCR: B. carambolae; BTA: B. tau;
Fruit fly infectation: During the off season (January and March) harvested dragon fruit had low infestation (Table 10) with B. dorsalis, B. correctaand B. carambolae, which are among seven fruit flies species occurring in Viet Nam and regarded as of economic significance (Drew et al. 2001; Clarke et al. 2005; Dat 2007).
Table 10. The fruit fly infestation on dragon fruit in South Viet Nam (2005-2008)
Legend: **: Means in a column followed by a common letter are significantly different at P0.05 by Duncan. Data number of ants were transformed (X + 0,5)1/2 with x trap catches for each fruit fly.
Impact of SOFRI Protein® on fruit fly: The use of protein bait was tested in Tien Giang, Long An, and Binh Thuan 2003-2012. Each orchard is 10,000 m2 to 50,000m2. The fruit fly populations sprayed with SOFRI Protein® were significantly different from those at theTien Giang province where no protein baits were applied (Table 11). The overall mean fruit infested (2%) in the treated site were lower by nearly four and two times, respectively, than those recorded in the non-treatments (14.49%). In June 2004, the fruit fly populations at the site sprayed with SOFRI Protein® were not significantly from those in the Long An province.
Table 11. The result control fruit fly using protein bait in some local (2003-2012)
Relation between fruit fly population and infection: Results indicate that population and infection of fruit fly in dragon orchards in Tien Giang was related (Figure 2), and fruit fly populations and fruit fly infection in dragon orchards were low Jan to March and July to Nov. Previously, Dien et al. (2007) had reported an clear relationship between population and SOFRI Protein spray in barbados cherries.
Figure 2. Relation between fruit fly population and fruit infected.
Impact of SOFRI Protein® on fruit fly: The fruit fly populations at the site sprayed with SOFRI Protein® were significantly different from those at the other province where no protein baits were applied. The overall mean number of fruit flies per trap in the treated site at 6 to 15 insects per trap per day was lower by nearly four and two times than those in the non-treatment (24.48 insects). These findings supported that the strong control effect of SOFRI Protein® on fruit fly. The protein baits laced with spinosad, another type of insecticidal toxin, are also highly attractive to both the females and males of B. dorsalis (Barry et al. 2006; Pinero et al. 2009). Stark et al. (2009) reported that B. dorsalis was more susceptible to fipronil than B. cucurbitae after exposure to spot sprays. Since spinosad is known to be safer to humans and the environment than fipronil, fipronil based protein baits have been highly recommended for the control of Bactrocera fruit flies in general and B. dorsalis in particular (Stark et al. 2009).
The results for B. dorsalis in this study, however, are different from those of Vayssierres et al. (2009b) who observed that there were no significant differences in the abundances of B. invadens between dragon orchards treated with protein baits and untreated orchards in Benin, West Africa. B. invadens was recently described and categorised in the B. dorsalis complex (Drew et al. 2005).
Numbers of B. dorsalis and B. correctawere captured in all traps fluctuated throughout the investigation period. However, numbers in the treated site were always lower than those in the untreated site in all pairwise data for both species (Table 12). The mean number of B. dorsalis captured per trap was highest in September 2010 and decreased toward the end of the harvest time in both treatment and non-treatment orchards (Table 12). There were significant differences in the mean trap catches of B. dorsalis between the two treatments across the six-month period (t-test, p < 0.05) (Table 12). Overall, the mean captures of B. dorsalis across six month in non-treated sites were nearly four times higher than those in the treated site (Table 12).
Table 12. Comparison of mean (± SE) numbers of fruit flycaptured monthly per methyl eugenol trap in 4 sites in Tien Giang, Long An and BinhThuan Province from 2008 to 2012.
Legend: Control: Farmer control; Data number of fruit flies were transformed log(x+1) with x trap catches for each fruit fly; ** significantly different p0.01.
In all locations, control of fruit fly in large areas produces good results. The infected fruit was only 1.00 to 3.00%, while for untreated fruit this figure was 17.18 to 22.10%.
Adoption of New Management Tools Against Ants and Fruit Flies
The ultimate objective of applying any management method in crop production is to improve product quality and productivity. However, the cost of implementing new management approaches should be justified by economic benefits. In this regard, there might be a concern about whether SOFRI Protein® baiting could reduce infestation rates on dragon fruit to such a low level that the harvested fruit is still marketable. Currently, Japan markets require unblemished dragon fruit, and Australia and New Zeland have strict quarantine barriers. To ge access to these ‘hard’ markets, unfortunately, SOFRI Protein® applications still not adequate. Additional measures such as fruit bagging and quarantine treatments may be undertaken to achieve the zero tolerance for fruit fly infestation.
Table 14. Yield of model applied IPM and traditional on dragon fruit in Tien Giang province
(*) note: data recorded 20 orchard, 10 orchard for IPM and 10 orchard for con trol; (+): fruit not infested fruit fly and ants
There are seven species of ants occurred in dragon fruit orchards in Tien Giang, Long An and Binh Thuan provinces in southern Vietnam. And three species of fruit flies caused high levels of damage on dragon fruit. And both SOFRI TruKien® and SOFRI Protein® bait were effective for the control of the aforesaid pests.
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