The use of sex pheromone traps for olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae Rossi) monitoring

With the aim to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the EU, the Directive 2009/128/EC, comes to reinforce the necessity of develop and implement strategies of crop protection that should contribute to a sustainable production. Monitoring a pest population is a prerequisite in pest management decisions and should be implemented in farms.

The olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae Rossi, is a major pest of olives worldwide. When feeding, larvae create galleries throughout the fruit, destroying and consuming the pulp, and allowing the access and development of secondary organisms, like fungi that depreciate the quality of olive oil.

For the monitoring of olive fruit fly adults, the current recommendation is the use of pheromone traps. These are normally yellow sticky traps with a capsule impregnated with a synthetic chemical compound, 1,7-dioxaspiro [5.5] undecane, similar to the sex pheromone released by females.

Traps should be installed before the fruit hardening (between the end of June and mid-July) which is the phenological stage considered receptive to the oviposition of the olive fruit fly and inspected weekly. The image acquisition of captured adults using a camera and the remote monitoring is already possible for some species and will be soon a reality for the olive fruit fly.

Traps are fundamental tools for adults monitoring and allow to analyze spatial and temporal distribution of the pest, determine the periods of risk (when visual observation should be done – see practice abstract no?), and help in the decision regarding timing and necessity of phytosanitary treatments.

The reference values for economic thresholds levels differ between countries so farms should follow guidelines of their country agriculture services.