The 2021-2022 mango season is still underway and growers across the country have been advised to apply prescribed control measures to combat oriental fruit fly (OFF) infestation.
This warning comes as high volumes of rain experienced in various provinces have led to increases of the pest and bait sprays washing off. Bait spray is a liquid mixture used to kill the adult fruit fly.
Over 70 species of commercial and wild fruit are known to be infested by OFF, however, mangoes are particularly susceptible. This according to the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development.
“It is imperative for growers and all stakeholders involved to adhere to prescribed control measures as administered under the Agricultural Pests Act, 1983 (Act No. 36 of 1983), Control Measures R.110 of 27 January 1984 as amended, which provides for measures to combat the introduction, spread and establishment of the pest in new areas,” the department said in a statement.
The department has advised mango farmers to implement several fruit fly suppression strategies.
Apart from adjusting bait spray applications, growers should place male annihilation technique (MAT) blocks in host crops at the registered rates. Protein bait stations may be placed along with bait sprays as they are less prone to leaching in rainy weather, if set up correctly, the department said.
MAT involves the deployment of high densities of trapping stations consisting of a male attractant combined with a killing agent. MAT is being promoted across Africa as a component of integrated pest management strategies against different fruit fly species.
“Growers are also urged to apply field or orchard sanitation measures every week to destroy dropped fruit as an effective measure to reduce the pest population. Growers must also monitor OFF populations using methyl eugenol baited traps as this will enable them to implement timely measures to control the pest,” the department said.
Apply for removal permits
Stakeholders who wish to move OFF host crops from infested areas to non-infested areas are required to apply for a removal permit from the department.
Areas in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape and the Free State are currently considered non-infested areas.
Removal permits are only issued when the fruit fly management control measures are implemented, and population levels have been reduced to an acceptable level. Such permits can be revoked if the OFF numbers in an area increase to unacceptable numbers.
For further information on application for removal permits, contact the department’s directorate of inspection services on 012 309 8735/ 8791/ 8763, or email RemovalPermits@dalrrd.gov.za
The department says in the meantime OFF registered agrochemicals, can be bought at reputable agro-dealers.
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