Pest management in acerola cultivation is the topic of publication

Publication highlights fruit flies, a pest that is very harmful to crops

11.10.2022 | 14:51 (UTC -3)

Knowing how to deal with pests and diseases is a differentiator for producers. By identifying the physical, behavioral and reproductive characteristics of agricultural pathological agents, Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical promotes the dissemination of knowledge and technologies necessary to strengthen agriculture. With this in mind, the Unit made available a study on the subject, entitled “Incidence of Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) and associated parasitoids in acerola fruits, Malpighia emarginata DC., in Paraipaba, CE”

The publication describes the occurrence of the fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), a species belonging to the Diptera family: Tephritidae and one of the main pests of fruit growing worldwide, in acerola cultivation in the municipality of Paraipaba (CE). Ceratitis capitata is a pest native to the Americas and has established itself in regions of the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Western Australia. Currently, the species is present in 94 host species in 27 families, is widely distributed in Brazil and present in all states in the Northeast.

In acerola cultivation, identifying which species of natural enemies are associated with fruit flies can help in decision making, as the producer can use, for example, conservative biological control as a management tool. Likewise, more detailed investigations into how the fruit fly infestation pattern behaves in acerola are necessary for more efficient management of these insects. 

From this, the research aimed to present an assessment of the spatial distribution of Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) in two varieties of acerola tree: Junco and Okinawa. In addition to verifying the colonization potential of C. capitata in acerola fruits of different biomass and knowing the parasitoids associated with C. capitata.

The researchers point out the main behavioral characteristics of the pest and indicate the consequences of its incidence on plants. The larvae of these flies feed on the pulp of the fruits, making them unfit for consumption or industrialization, causing significant economic losses. In Brazil, C. capitata can cause a reduction of up to 50% in citrus production.

Therefore, the management of fruit flies is based on the integration of several control methods, since they are key pests that have the characteristics of high fecundity rate, high adult dispersal capacity and ease of colonization in different hosts. and ecological conditions. The main control method is chemical, through the application of synthetic insecticides in the form of toxic bait or through application as cover.

However, the research highlights that phytosanitary regulations imposed by importers and quarantine restrictions in countries that do not have the pest on their territory have made it difficult to export fruit. Thus, there is a need to diversify the management alternatives for these insects and improve the way this management is conducted. 

About the experiment

The experiment was carried out in a commercial cherry cultivation area of ​​8,2 ha, with 4.200 plants, arranged in a spacing of 5 m × 4 m, located in the municipality of Paraipaba, Ceará. The plants were seven years old and had an average height of 2m. The management of acerola trees was carried out conventionally, with phytosanitary control, pruning and clearing between the rows. Fruit collection was carried out monthly (once a month) between October 2017 and December 2018, using commercial acerola varieties Junco and Okinawa. 

As a result, the study found that in the Junco and Okinawa varieties there is a greater probability of occurrence of Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) in fruits collected from the ground in relation to the aerial part. In acerola, C. capitata has greater colonization in fruits with lower biomass. Finally, the parasitoid Tetrastichus giffardianus proves to be the main parasitoid of C. capitata in cherry trees in the municipality of Paraipaba.

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