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Home>FFTC Document Database>Extension Bulletins>Public and Private Partnerships in Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management for the Benefit of Farmers: The Hawaii Experience
Public and Private Partnerships in Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management for the Benefit of Farmers: The Hawaii Experience
Ronald F.L. Mau1, Jari S. Sugano1, Eric B. Jang2, Roger I. Vargas2 and Lyle Wong3
1University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Plant and
Environmental Protection Sciences, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822, USA
2United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
3Hawaii Department of Agriculture, 1428 South King Street,
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814, USA, 2008-01-15


Transfer of technologies to end-users (farmers and gardeners) are often locally and single agency outreach teaching programs. Actual outcomes and benefits are limited to localities or just a few farms. In recent years, there has been a focus on expanding benefits to larger regions. These programs have an area-wide focus and outcomes can be significant. In order to avoid the failures of past programs and produce significant, enduring outcomes, the Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit Fly Pest Management Program used a collaborative, public and private partnership model that shared responsibilities among the agencies. A second tenant was that users would learn best with a hands-on, personalized teaching method. All materials were provided to participants (cooperators) who agreed to use recommended fruit fly suppression practices.

Key words: Area-wide approach, integrated pest management, IPM, suppression, public and private partnership


Four species of economically important tephritid fruit flies occur in Hawaii. These invasive species are among the most damaging fruit fly pests in the world. The species are melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett)), Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann)), oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel)), and solanaceous fruit fly, Bactrocera latifrons (Hendel). The occurrence of these pests is an offshore threat fruit and vegetable industries on the continental United States. These pests have been an important bottleneck to the establishment and expansion of a diversified fruit and vegetable industry. The damage by oriental fruit fly and medfly is an impediment for establishment of commercial orchards of fruits than can be grown here. In addition to reduced marketable yields, presence of the pests cause significant post-harvest inspection and treatment costs before fruits such as papaya are to most offshore markets. Serious impediments also limit production of cucurbits and melons. Farmers have relied on weekly cover sprays of crops with organophosphate insecticides and stopping production when damage is high. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (USDA ARS PBARC) have studied biology, ecology, behavior and control of medfly and these Bactrocera species. Much of the technologies and control tactics used on these pests have resulted from research conducted at this laboratory.

This report describes the organization and execution of a highly successful collaborative program that resulted in the transfer of technological programs to control melon fly, medfly and oriental fruit fly. In countries around the world, public organizations have endeavored to assist farmers in controlling widespread key pests such as fruit flies. Although the knowledge-base and pest management tactics have been sufficient, outcomes of these programs have not been as successful as they could have been. Less than successful programs have occurred locally, and we have tried to overcome past shortcomings. The achievement of sustainable fruit fly control resulted from hands-on teaching methods and a partnership of public agencies, private companies, farmers and urban gardeners.

The Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management Program

Project Organization

In 1999, the USDA ARS approved funding for the Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit Fly Pest Management Program. The primary goal was to transfer proven technologies so that commercial and urban growers could benefit from sustainable fruit fly suppression for all four species of tephritid fruit flies. There was an emphasis on utilizing environmentally benign technologies wherever possible. In April 2000, an organizational meeting was held in Hilo, Hawaii. Dr. Robert Faust, National Program Leader, and Co-Principle Investigators Eric Jang and Roger Vargas let the discussions by the participants.

An ad hoc project leadership group was formed. This advisory and project-planning group was named the Core Committee. It was scheduled to meet annually (or more frequently if necessary) to provide project leadership and oversight. Membership in this committee included, The National Program Leader, the Co-Principle Investigators, the Director of USDA, Pacific West Region, Director of the Hawaii Center (PBARC) and representatives from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), USDA Animal and Plant Health Service (APHIS). There were two additional non-voting advisors on the team. They were Dr. Carrol Calkins, USDA ARS- Yakima and Robert Dowell from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Annual funding was provided by the USDA-ARS Area-Wide Pest Management Program (USDA ARS AWPM) to project management that were located at USDA PBARC, Hilo, Hawaii. The project was a multi-agency, outcomes-based collaborative. The public and private partnership model were needed to meet the multiple project outcomes ( Fig. 1(956)).

Public Partners

USDA ARS PBARC was the agency that held the knowledge about fruit fly suppression. They were responsible for overall project management and research to bridge implementation gaps. Since they were located on Hawaii Island, they would manage implementation demonstration area at Waimea, Hawaii. In addition to project leadership, Dr. Jang provided expertise in the use of fruit fly attractants. Dr. Vargas assumed the leadership role in 2002 and provided expertise for ecology and biological control, and IPM. Drs. Grant McQuate, Donald McInnis, Ernest Harris, and Stella Chang were involved in providing knowledge and expertise in ecology, bionomics, sterile male technique and rearing. Numerous technical support staff also provided support.

The University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR) has three missions _ research, outreach education, and instruction. The outreach mission is fulfilled by the Cooperative Extension Service. Extension offices and faculty are located throughout Hawaii. Extension specialists and agricultural agents maintain close contact with farmers in all districts and work on improving agriculture and solving agricultural problems. The agricultural extension faculty are adept at hands-on teaching of clientele. Dr. Ronald Mau led the statewide educational program and the implementation program for implementation zones at Kula, Maui and Central Oahu. His team also implemented programs on Molokai and Kauai. Program faculty prepared a complete multi-year plan for educational targeted outcomes (Mau et al. 2003c and 2006). The plan served as a road map for annual work as well as benchmarks for project evaluation. Benchmark results were used to assure program success and scheduling.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is the States lead agency in Hawaii for agricultural policy. It also has a number of regulatory functions to assure well functioning marketplace. It regulates the use of pesticides and interacts closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dr. Lyle Wong, Plant Industry Administrator, a member of the Core committee, worked to establish the temporary, time-limited use of the insecticide naled and fruit fly lures (methyl eugenol and cue lure) for the project's population monitoring program. Despite the long use of these lures for research monitoring programs, both chemicals and products containing the lures were not registered for use for fruit fly control. The department's Pesticide Branch possessed the special knowledge that was needed to assist the Core Committee to secure national approvals for long-term use of toxicant and lure combinations for monitoring and control. Without this action, the long-term sustainability of the fruit fly program was doubtful.

As field successes increased, the issue of sustainability became obvious. Methyl eugenol and cue lure are powerful chemical attractants that used for monitoring of fruit flies. In other countries, the lures are used to control fruit fly with the male annihilation technique. Both attractants were not commercially available in Hawaii to monitor or control fruit flies. A long-term solution required EPA approvals of commercial products.

Two public agencies and two private companies collaborated to develop solutions. The two public agencies were the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the USDA Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP). OPMP was very helpful in facilitating approvals of products for long-term use in the fruit fly lure products containing methyl eugenol and cue lure. Their mandate was to coordinate USDA's role in the pesticide regulatory process with the Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Teung Chin, a biological scientist with OPMP and Director Allen Jennings helped two private companies (FarmaTech International and Scentry Biologicals Inc) with providing references and other materials that were required and in reviewing the Manufacturer Use Permit applications prior to their submission to the Environmental Protection Agency. Their assistance was invaluable to make the February 2007 deadline when the temporary state labels for use of the lures and toxicant for the fruit fly program.

Private Company Partners

Four private company partners provided the project with exceptional assistance. Without the cooperation and assistance, the fruit fly suppression project would not have been as successful. The companies were Dow AgroSciences LLC, United AgriProducts Hawaii, Scentry Biologicals Inc. and FarmaTech International.

Dow AgroSciences was the manufacturer of the fruit fly bait GF-120 which contained the insecticide spinosad. GF-120 is a protein bait product that is effective against all four species of fruit flies. The product was effective on oriental fruit fly and melon fly (Barry et al. 2006) The adoption of bait sprays eliminated the use of organophosphate cover sprays. Since the bait was applied as a spot treatment, farmers benefited by reducing labor needs. The product contained an environmentally safe insecticide and helped us meet the reduction in environmental hazard project objective. The company also assisted our needs to provide cooperators with smaller product containers. The GF-120 product size was only available in 3.785-liter (1 gallon) containers. Dow AgroSciences arranged with another company to produce 0.95-liter (1 quart) containers with the approved labeling. This allowed us to conserve the product for farmers with very small farms.

United AgriProducts Hawaii was a local distributor of GF-120 bait spray. They agreed to provide us with GF-120 at a very small margin above cost and helped us store the product for three years when we located storage facilities on five islands. They also provided assistance in shipping GF-120 bait to different islands when we had a shortage of the bait.

Scentry Biologicals, Inc. Methyl eugenol and cue lure are liquid attractants that absorbed on to cotton and placed into traps for monitoring or as a male annihilation treatment (MAT). This is laborious and not easily done by farmers. We needed a simple method for setting monitoring and MAT traps. Scentry Biologicals cooperated with us to prepare an individually packaged product of the attractant in a plastic matrix.

FarmaTech International has been an excellent partner in helping us meet the deadline of February 2007 when the temporary lure and toxicant labels would end. Working with USDA OPMP and their consultant, the first step in securing a commercial "end-use" product was met when they secured a Manufacturers Use Permit (MUP) from the EPA. They are reviewing an application for several methyl eugenol and cue lure commercial "end use" products and will be submitting it to EPA for approval before September 2006. We are confident now about having a sustainable fruit fly pest management program with EPA approve commercial products on the horizon.

How Did We Execute the Project?

Before beginning to work on program implementation, we needed to how to proceed with the technology transfer programs. Monitoring data was needed to formulate the IPM program. Since we were going to do a hands-on teaching program, we needed to determine the size and location of the demonstration zones. Discussions with farmers were needed to determine the relative importance of the fruit fly pests so that the serial order of the implementation programs could be determined.

Baseline population monitoring

USDA ARS PBARC established base-line population monitoring of the four pest species on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Oahu in June 2000. Population data was collected for a one-year period to understand temporal and spatial nature of population fluctuation and crop damage.

Selection of fruit fly species order for control

The Core Committee met after the baseline data was secured to discuss the order of fruit fly control and the implementation island zones. Since there were four fruit fly species, we implemented the fruit fly suppression projects for each of the species in a serial manner. The order was melon fly, medfly, oriental fruit fly, and Malaysian fruit fly.

Integrated pest management program

For each of the fruit fly pests, we considered integration of all of the tactics that were useful in a control program that is shown in Figure 2. The tactics were population monitoring, field sanitation, male annihilation, attract and kill protein baits, sterile insect technique, and biological control with fruit fly parasitoids. Brochures explaining our program, the pest species and each of the control tactics were prepared. A video describing area-wide fruit fly pest management (Mau et al. 2003b) was prepared for educating farmer groups and urban gardeners about the program.

The melon fly was the first pest project due to the economic impacts farmers. Implementation zones chosen were Kamuela, Hawaii, Kula, Maui, and the Ewa-Kunia region on Oahu. Medfly was the second fruit fly species due to strong farmer interest. The implementation program for medfly was begun soon after the melon fly program was begun. The oriental fruit fly program was not to begin until after the melon fly and medfly programs were transferred to farmers.

Implementation programs

All of the control programs used the following procedures. Growers in each implementation zone were recruited as cooperators in the suppression program. Growers signed agreements participate in educational meetings and to perform the population monitoring, sanitation, male annihilation trapping, and to apply attract and kill protein baits on their farms as directed by project personnel. All of the cooperators were supplied with traps, chemical lures (cue lure, methyl eugenol, and Biolure MedflyR), and GF 120 spinosad bait spray (adult fruit fly control). Project personnel monitored fruit fly populations on a bi-weekly schedule and plotted the results in a geographic information system (GIS) to visualize area-wide trends (Mau et al. 2003a). A monthly newsletter updated cooperators. An internet web site ( was another source of information about the area-wide IPM program. The hands-on training program was successful and growers found that fruit fly suppression was easy and very effective. They also experienced increased crop losses if they did not implement the practices correctly and project staff worked with them to obtain expected results.

What Did We Accomplish and What Did Grower Partners Get from the Project

The Kamuela, Hawaii farmer cooperators and those at Kula, Maui and at Central Oahu (Fig. 3), accomplished and maintained effective fruit fly suppression. Control of the melon fly began in 2000 in a 40-km2 demonstration zone at Kamuela, Hawaii under the leadership of the USDA ARS PBARC partner. Growers took over the control program in December 2004. The UH-CTAHR partner began melon fly suppression in a 44-km2 zone at Kula, Maui in 2001 and at a 53-km2 region of central Oahu farms in June 2001. The program at Central Oahu was taken over in November 2004 and at Kula in March 2005. Farmers were able to suppress melon fly in their cucurbit and melon crops with just four tactics—population monitoring, sanitation, male annihilation trapping with cue lure and weekly application of GF-120 bait sprays. Persimmon farmers at Kula, Maui effectively suppressed medfly in their orchards ( Fig. 4(1077)). They began their suppression program in July 2001. The highly successful program was taken over by growers in January 2005. The oriental fruit fly program began in papaya orchards at Puna, Hawaii in January 2006. Sanitation and male annihilation trapping has been implemented in a3.2 km2 area. GF-120 bait spray treatments began in August 2006. Refinement of this suppression program will continue until the program is transferred to papaya growers.

In 2004, we hired an independent agricultural economist to perform an interim analysis of program outcomes. Using standard cost-benefit analyses, McGregor found that summer squash (zucchini) growers who utilized the melon fly suppression program had and increase of $15,893 per hectare after subtracting the program costs. He also found that persimmon growers increased their income by $2,249 per hectare after discounting the program costs. McGregor also concluded that "Farmers have enthusiastically embraced the…program. Technologies have been demonstrated that work, are farmer friendly and increase financial returns. Farmers seem to recognize that they will have to meet these costs and are willing to do so." He also noted that "The cost of the AWPM Program extension and education components have been relatively modest compared with the benefits that have been achieved and are likely to be achieved in the future." A final analysis of program outcomes will occur when the program is completed.


  • Barry, J.D., N.W. Miller, J.C. Pinero, A. Tuttle, R.F.L. Mau, R. I. Vargas. 2006. Effectiveness of protein baits on melon fly and oriental fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae): Attraction, feeding, and foraging. Journal of Economic Entomology 99(4): 1161-1167.
  • Mau, R. F. L. , E. Jang, R. Vargas, M.Y. Chou, C. Chan and J. S. Sugano. 2003a. Implementation of a geographic information system with integrated control tactics for area-wide fruit fly management. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Plant Protection Management for Sustainable Development: Technology and New Dimension (C-C. Ho, C-C Tzeng, L.-M. Hsu, J.-T. Yang and S.-C. Wang, ed). The Plant Protection Society of the Republic of China, Sept. 2003. pp. 23-33.
  • Mau, R. F. L., J. S. Sugano, and D. Hamasaki. 2003b. Prescription for fruit fly suppression (videotape and DVD). University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Video Series No. 164.
  • Mau, R.F.L., J. S. Sugano and E. Jang. 2003c. Farmer Education and Organization in the Hawaii Area Wide Fruit Fly Pest Management Program In: Recent Trends on Sterile Insect Technique and Area-Wide Integrated Pest Management: Economic Feasibility, Control Projects, Farmer Organization and Dorsalis Complex Control Study. Research Institute for Subtropics. Okinawa, Japan. pp. 47-57.
  • Mau, R. F. L., E. B. Jang, and R. I. Vargas. 2006. The Hawaii fruit fly area-wide pest management programme: Influence of a good education programme and partnerships in a successful programme. In: Proceedings of the 2nd FAO-IAEA Conference on Area-Wide Control of Insect Pests. Vienna, Austria, May 2005.
  • McGregor, A. M. 2004. An economic evaluation of the Hawaii area-wide pest management program: An interim report. Trade and Development Office, Suva, Fiji. October 2004. pp. 65. Unpublished report. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, USA.

Index of Images

Figure 1 Organization of Public and Private Partners in the Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management Program.

Figure 1 Organization of Public and Private Partners in the Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management Program.

Figure 2 Six Management Tactics That Were Possible for Use in the Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management Program. the Four Tactics Used in the Fruit FLY Suppression Programs in Hawaii Are Emphasized in the Diagram.

Figure 2 Six Management Tactics That Were Possible for Use in the Hawaii Area-Wide Fruit FLY Pest Management Program. the Four Tactics Used in the Fruit FLY Suppression Programs in Hawaii Are Emphasized in the Diagram.

Figure 3 Suppression of Melon FLY, <I>Bactrocera Cucurbitae</I>, at Three Demonstration Zones in Hawaii Using Population Monitoring, Sanitation, Male Annihilation Trapping and GF-120 Protein Bait Sprays.

Figure 3 Suppression of Melon FLY, Bactrocera Cucurbitae, at Three Demonstration Zones in Hawaii Using Population Monitoring, Sanitation, Male Annihilation Trapping and GF-120 Protein Bait Sprays.

Figure 4 Suppression of Medfly, <I>Ceratitis Capitata</I>, on Persimmon at Kula, Maui, Hawaii Using Population Monitoring, Mass Trapping and GF-120 Bait Sprays.

Figure 4 Suppression of Medfly, Ceratitis Capitata, on Persimmon at Kula, Maui, Hawaii Using Population Monitoring, Mass Trapping and GF-120 Bait Sprays.

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