Olive fruit fly

The olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae) is a parasite that can cause significant damage to the fruit. We’ll describe everything that is to know about this insect.

How and when it acts

The females, usually in late summer,lay their eggs by bucking the surface of the olives.
In about 2-3 days the eggs hatch and the larvae begin to feed on the pulp, consuming most of the fruit; as a consequence the olive remains rotten or can take on a blackish color. If it’s mill, it derives a very poor oil.
A Raggia olive fruti with the typical small hole caused by an olive fruit fly that has deposit the larva inside
The action of the flies is mostly evident during poor production years: even with a small population, the parasite can cause serious losses of the crop.
As is known, the factors behind a rich production are varied, in particular the climate acts in a significant way.

The olive fruit fly has always existed and its presence, unlike other pests, does not endanger the life of the plant. Moreover, its action is proportional to the crop: the more it’s poor, the more the damage of the fly is evident.

Olive fruit fly
As this parasite prefers damp climate, it’ll proliferate in particularly rainy years.
In these circumstances the plant, which needs a dry climate to give good results, is already suffering because of the humidity, to which the parasites are added.

Moreover, if the fruit attached by the insect remains on the tree, it can become the nest of other pests that will infest other plants.

Therefore it’s essential to remove the damaged fruits; however, it must be borne in mind that very often these are wild trees, and therefore not directly controlled by growers.

How to fight them

Not being able to control the climate, the action of the olive fruit fly can be monitored through the identification of the eggs and, if necessary, it’s possible to intervene with preventive treatments or targeted to eliminate the larvae.

The traps for adult models can be of two types: the chromotropic ones, which attract insects thanks to the colors and those that attract only male models through pheromones.

To fight the olive fruit fly each region resorts to monitoring tools and can implement targeted interventions to curb the phenomenon.

For example, Tuscany has launched a project that, thanks to the use of new technologies such as smartphone apps, allows to control pest attacks.

It’s a platform that allows to have real-time information on weather, climatic oscillations and also on pests by timely registration of attacks.


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