• The latest buzz

    The latest buzz

    Fruit flies cost Africa US$2 billion a year, simply because of the damage they wreak on crops. In an attempt to eliminate the pest, Kenya has established a US$250 000 factory that will produce Fruitfly Mania – a protein-based bait made from yeast. As reported by SciDevNet, the factory forms parts of a public-private partnership between the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) and Kenya Biologics.

    According to Icipe African fruit fly programme head Sunday Ekesi: ‘Aside from directly damaging produce, many fruit fly species are considered quarantine pests, leading to the rejection of horticultural products from Africa in export markets.’ As protein is a key component of the adult female fruit fly’s diet, bait sprays are often laced with protein.

    In a trial conducted in 2016, more than 110 flies per day were captured in fields treated with Fruitfly Mania, compared to 56 flies per day via other control management methods.

    The factory has the capacity to produce about 2 000 litres a day – benefiting local farmers as well as around 400 000 mango farmers in Uganda and Tanzania. The bait will also be 70% cheaper than other commercially available products.

    23 May 2017
    Image: Kenya Biologics