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Keywords:

  • Bactrocera tryoni;
  • foraging behaviour;
  • pest management;
  • plant architecture;
  • Tephritidae

Abstract

The spot or strip application of poisoned protein bait is a lure-and-kill technique used for the management of fruit flies. Knowledge of where flies occur in the crop environment is an important part of maximizing the efficacy of this tool. Bactrocera tryoni is a polyphagous pest of horticulture for which very little is known about its distribution within crops. With particular reference to edge effects, we monitored the abundance of B. tryoni in two crops of different architecture; strawberry and apple. In strawberries, we found more flies on the crop edge early in the fruiting season, which lessened gradually and eventually disappeared as the season progressed. In apple orchards, no such edge effect was observed and flies were found equally throughout the orchard. We postulated these differences may be due to differences in crop height (high vs. short) and/or crop canopy architecture (opened and branched in apple, dense and closed in strawberry). In a field cage trial, we tested these predictions using artificial plants of different height and canopy condition. Height and canopy structure type had no significant effects on fly oviposition and protein feeding, but the ‘apple’ type canopy significantly influenced resting. We thus postulate that there was an edge effect in strawberry because the crop was not providing resting sites and flies were doing so in vegetation around the field margins. The finding that B. tryoni shows different resting site preferences based on plant architecture offers the potential for strategic manipulation of the fly through specific border or inter-row plantings.