Fruit fly dictionary

Like all topics, fruit flies and insect pest management has a number of terms that might be new to you. Below is a list of terms that might be helpful.

ALOPAppropriate Level of Protection. The level of protection from pests and diseases that are considered necessary to protect plant and animal health within a country.
Area Wide Management An approach to managing pests that considers areas larger than just the orchard or property. By applying consistent and coordinated pest management activities across larger areas a greater benefit can be delivered to property owners and the chance of unforeseen outbreaks minimised.
Cold Disinfestation (cold treatment)The storage of fruits or vegetables at low temperatures for an extended duration to kill any insects present. For most fruit flies maintaining a temperature below 3°C for 16–18 days will kill any eggs or larvae present.
DrosophilaDrosophila are a genus (group of species) of flies that are sometimes called fruit flies. The better name for these flies is ‘vinegar flies’ or ‘ferment flies’ as they are attracted to the smells of fermenting or decomposing fruits and carry on them a vinegar producing bacteria.

Drosophila flies are often seen buzzing around fruit bowls, compost heaps, and around fruit that may have fallen from the tree. What sets Drosophila apart from the true fruit flies is that they attack overripe and already damaged fruit.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)An approach to managing pests that seeks to utilise a range of tools and techniques to collectively reduce damage or impact to be below economic levels. In crop pest management, IPM typically favours the use of methods that are less damaging to natural enemies and parasitoids.
ISPMInternational Standards for Phytosanitary Measures. A group of internationally agreed standards that provide a common basis for pest risk analysis and quarantine treatments. The ISPMs are developed as a function of the International Plant Protection Convention.
Larva / LarvaeThe immature stage of an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis. Fly larvae are also called maggots.
Singular – larva, plural – larvae.
OvipositionThe act of female insect laying eggs into or onto host material. This may be leaves, branches, fruit, seeds, flowers, other insects, or animals. Oviposition by pest fruit flies includes the female fruit fly making a small puncture in the fruit before laying eggs.
ParasitoidAn organism that lives on or in and eventually kills its host. Parasitoid eggs are usually laid on, in, or near the host insect. Wasps are an important parasitoid attacking fruit flies.
PheromoneA chemical produced by insects to attract potential mates or cause some other behaviour such as aggregation. Within the field of fruit fly control, parapheromones are typically plant derived compounds that simulate pheromones and are highly attractive to male fruit flies. These can be used to attract male flies into traps or to baits for monitoring and control.
Protein Bait SprayA combination of a protein source such as yeast, sugars, an insecticide, and a gelling agent that is applied to the leaves of plants to attract and kill fruit flies. Fruit flies, especially recently emerged adult flies are attracted to the protein and sugars, but will be killed after ingesting the insecticide.

Most insecticides used with protein bait sprays are naturally derived and may be approved for use in organic farming.
Pupa / PupaeThe life stage of an insect where it undergoes a transformation from larva to adult. In insects such as moths and butterflies, this is the cocoon or chrysalis, while for fruit flies this is a relatively plain looking stage that occurs in the soil.
Singular – pupa, plural – pupae.
Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)The release of sterile male inspects to suppression or eradication a wild insect population. The mating of sterile males with wild females does not produce offspring and results in a downward pressure on the population.

For SIT to be effective, sterile male flies need to substantially outnumber the wild, non-sterile, male insects. This often requires the wild pest population to be substantially controlled prior to implementing SIT.
Systems ApproachA collective term for the use of multiple pest control measures to collectively deliver a specific outcome, ideally with greater flexibility and lower cost. In pest management and trade, two separate activities that reduce pest incidence by 90% (such as effective pest control in the orchard and post harvest grading) might in combination provide 99% control or elimination of pests. If this can be demonstrated to be the same or better than a single point treatment it might be used to support safe trade.
TephritidA fruit fly. The “true” fruit flies belong to the insect family ‘Tephritidae’, while an individual within this family can be referred to as ‘a tephritid’. There are some 5000 recognised species within the family Tephritidae, though less than 100 are recognised pests.
Vapor Heat TreatmentExposure of fruits or vegetables to heat in a high humidity environment to kill any insects present. The high humidity assists the efficient heating of the commodity. For most fruit flies heating the fruit so that the temperature inside the fruit is between 45 and 50°C for 15 to 20 minutes will kill any eggs or larvae present.


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