Destructive oriental fruit fly found in South of France for first time

The insect was first found in France in 2019 in Paris and Occitanie. It can cause serious damage to fruit and vegetable produce

24 August 2021
By Joanna York

An oriental fruit fly that can spoil fruit and vegetable products has been found in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region for the first time.

Five adult Bactrocera dorsalis insects were caught in a trap in Hyères on August 5.

The species can be identified by its distinctive yellow and black markings and clear wings. 

It is originally from Southeast Asia but since the early 2000s populations have been spreading east across the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

The fruit fly was first found in France in 2019 in Paris and Occitanie.

Fly can spoil fruit and vegetable produce

Bactrocera dorsalis typically feed on farmed and wild plants, including – of course – fruit, such as peaches, mangoes, bananas, figs, lemons, oranges, tomatoes, peppers and melons.

Damage caused by larvae which grow inside fruit and vegetables can spoil produce.

To help stop populations spreading in the South of France, local growers are advised to collect fruit and vegetables that fall to the ground instead of allowing them to rot.

Large-scale producers are advised to:

  • Destroy old produce by burning or grinding it up
  • Keep produce in a plastic bag for 15 days before composting, or avoid composting altogether
  • Avoid letting produce become over-ripe before harvesting
  • Use farming techniques that prevent produce falling to the ground
  • Cover plants with insect-proof nets
  • Close rubbish bins and bags with produce inside and empty bins frequently
  • Install insect traps at points where produce is loaded or unloaded

People who spot Bactrocera dorsalis are asked to report it online

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