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Dr. Timothy Holler of Gainesville, Florida is an entomologist for the United States Department of Agriculture - Center for Plant Health, Science and Technology. Aware of his work on invasive species, specifically the fruit fly, and their effects on agriculture in the United States, FAVACA has enlisted his help since 1994 for missions to Dominica, St. Kitts, and Grenada.
FRUIT FLY CONTROL ENABLES EXPORTATION IN GRENADA
The Ministry of Agriculture of Grenada and CARDI hope to develop protocols for hot water treatment of golden apple fruits (Ambarella, Spondias cytherea,) to allow for export into markets such as the US and EU. Their efforts have been hampered for the past 6 years because Grenada has been dealing with a new invasive species, the West Indian Fruit Fly (Anastrepha oblique), which has infested much of the golden apple fruits and the fruit is therefore unable to pass USDA guidelines for exportation. A common remedy for infested fruits is a hot water bath which is commonly used throughout the world to kill insects and their larvae and allow the fruit to be exported without spreading the pests to other countries. Baths need to reach a certain temperature for a specified amount of time to kill all the larvae; however, if temperatures are too hot or the fruit stays in the bath for too long, they can be damaged and are thus unable to be exported.
Ronald Pilgrim, a CARDI post-harvest specialist, traveled to Grenada from November 10-13 to train Ministry of Agriculture officials and representatives of post-harvest processing facilities on how to institute hot water treatments. CARDI requested an entomologist to work in coordination with the post-harvest specialist to determine safe temperatures and time combinations for controlling the fruit flies and their larvae in the fruits after which the post-harvest specialist will establish their effects on fruit quality. Answering the call for assistance was Timothy Holler from the USDA-APHIS-PPQ Center for Plant Health, Science, and Technology- Fruit Fly Genetics and Management Laboratory in Gainesville, Florida who traveled to Grenada November 7-13, 2010. As a result of the tests performed by Holler and the post-harvest specialist, the Ministry of Agriculture can now start looking at developing protocols that would address both the hot water treatment (HWT) to achieve quarantine security for exporting golden apples to the US and reduce pest population in infested areas (a technology which is already developed through the use of fly traps). In addition to working with the post-harvest specialist, Holler worked with Pest Management officials and visited several infested areas on the island and trained CARDI and Ministry of Agriculture officials on enhanced methods for infestation control.
BARBADOS FIGHTS FRUIT FLIES WITH NEW BIOLOGICAL CONTROLS
In December 2002 the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute - St. Kitts, requested FAVACA's assistance for a fruitfly biological control program. Two United States Department of Agriculture technicians from Gainesville, John Sivinski, PhD., and Timothy Holler, PhD., traveled to St. Kitts and Nevis in December 2002, to train 20 officials. Subsequently, the Barbados Ministry of Agriculture learned of the project and expressed interest in replicating the program. Government entomologist Ian Gibbs requested the team provide similar training to his officials. Drs. Sivinski and Holler traveled to Barbados November 7-12, 2004, to train Gibbs and his staff in fruit sampling, surveying for fruit fly, identification of fruit fly parasitoids, trapping methodologies and pest/host relationship.
FRUITFLY CONTROL IN ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
Agriculture makes a substantial contribution to the gross domestic product of St. Kitts and fruitfly infestation is one of the major constraints to the development of the fruit sub-sector. Therefore, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute - St. Kitts, requested FAVA/CA’s assistance for a fruitfly biological control program. Two United States Department of Agriculture technicians from Gainesville, Dr. John Sivinski and Dr. Timothy Holler, traveled to St. Kitts and Nevis December 8-13, 2002. Along with IICA-Mexico, the doctors were successful in securing the $15,000 needed to rear West Indian parasitoids in Mexico at the Instituto de Ecologia. Dr. Sivinski then carried the parasitoids with him to St. Kitts in order to release the first batch. Unfortunately, 3/4 of the parasitoids were dead 2 days after their release. It was decided that they will continue to release this parasitoid in weekly batches shipped from Mexico and to look into the possibility of releasing a second parasitoid, longis, with the assistance of the Florida Division of Plant Industry. Additionally, it was concluded that the mango fruit fly appears in two other categories of fruit throughout the year on St. Kitts and that the mango fruit fly is common on Nevis. The doctors recommended that a 5-year plan be developed defining the objectives and costs of implementing a control program for which they recommended three tactics; eradication, fly-free zones, and mechanical control. In all, approximately 20 officials were trained during the visit.
FRUIT FLY INFESTATION REVIEW IN DOMINICA
Richard Baranowski, Director of the Tropical Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Homestead, and Tim Holler, Entomologist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), applied their expertise in Dominica from May 9-21, 1994. They reviewed the status of fruit fly infestation and designed a plan for eradication/control.