The fruit fly is still present in the archipelago | April 22nd, 2009

Almost a year after detecting the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) in the archipelago, the Galapagos National Park Service and other institutions continue efforts to eradicate this dangerous introduced insect from the islands.

According to park wardens involved in the process of control and eradication of introduced species, monitoring of the fruit fly is ongoing.

Monitoring in Barrio Central of Santa Cruz, conducted two weeks ago, detected two flies. Last week, no individuals were detected in the same area. On San Cristóbal, 16 files were found: 4 in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and 12 in the agricultural zone.

To date, introduced almond trees are the only plants in which the fruit fly has been detected in Galapagos. The flies deposit their eggs in the semi-ripe almonds, which provide a medium for the eggs to mature. When the invaded almond falls to the ground, the larva leaves the nut and buries itself in the soil to later emerge as a fly.

Monitoring takes place in the highlands of Santa Cruz on Mondays and Puerto Ayora on Tuesdays, using traps with hormone-laced baits that attract and capture flies. On Wednesdays, almonds are collected and on Thursdays and Fridays, the almond trees are fumigated.

Land owners whose properties contain almond trees have been told not to cut them down, since doing so will force the fruit flies to establish themselves in other fruit trees in the islands.

Public education classes aimed at teaching community members how to become involved in fruit fly control have begun.  Each participant has been provided with a basket for daily collection of mature almonds that have fallen from the trees, in order to break the reproductive cycle of the fruit fly.

This approach directly involves land owners in measures to prevent the reproduction of this species and its dispersal to other parts of the archipelago.