Mexico: Universidad Veracruzana patents a trap for fruit flies

The Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens, is an insect that causes great losses to the agricultural sector in the country, mainly to the citrus and mango sectors. A single female fly can infest hundreds of fruits throughout its life, propitiating the entrance of diverse organisms that cause the early putrefaction of the infested fruit.

Currently, to control the insect, producers fumigate the plantations. However, this method can be very expensive, as the insecticides lose their potency in a week and must be applied again. There are also traps that capture the fly making it impossible for it to make contact with the fruit. However, these measures have not been enough to control this plague. As a result researchers from the Universidad Veracruzana (UV) created and patented a device that has shown important results.
The device is a trap similar to a bird drinker that works under the Torricelli barometer principle, circulating a flow of insecticide for 42 days by using the force of gravity. It was designed by researchers Francisco Diaz Fleischer and Diana Perez Staples, from the Institute of Biotechnology and Applied Ecology (Inbioteca) of the UV.
Dr. Diaz Fleischer said that the current traps used bait insecticide to attract the fruit fly, but that they were not very effective because the insecticide only lasted for a short time and because they also attracted other beneficial insects.
The bait in the traps works for week but it can also lead to other problems, such as contamination issues. As a result, researchers decided to extend the product's useful life and made trap prototypes to understand their behavior using conventional insecticides. After this, they improved their design and patented their results at the beginning of 2018, he said.
Dr. Perez Staples said that they had conducted tests in several hectares of mango orchards and that the results had been very encouraging.
"We continue to optimize the base prototype with different plastics. One of the benefits of this device is that it can work with baits specific for the Anastrepha ludens, i.e. it doesn't catch many other insects that are not pests, such as bees," she said.
The trap resembles the fruit that the fruit fly affects because studies show that the fly feels more attracted to spherical green and yellow containers.
The device, whose design also involved UV students, is being tested to protect fruit, such as guava, zapote, and plum from the fly. The device has enormous commercial potential.
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