Overview and future research needs for development of effective biocontrol strategies for management of Bactrocera dorsalis Hendel (Diptera: Tephritidae) in sub-Saharan Africa.
Infestation of fruits by native and invasive fruit flies causes significant economic losses. In most cases, incidence of 'regulated' dangerous fruit flies in orchards results in restrictions on export of fruits from such places to international markets. Unfortunately, use of insecticides applied on foliage and fruits does not kill the fruit-to-soil stages of fruit flies. However, diverse biological control agents (BCAs) do so. Thus, prevalence of native and invasive fruit flies in orchards will require that a combination of BCAs is included in integrated pest management (IPM) programmes. In the case of Bactrocera dorsalis Hendel and other economically important fruit flies found in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), use of classical biocontrol approach involves concomitant releases of two exotic parasitoids (Fopius arisanus Sonan and Diachasmimorpha longicaudata Ashmead). These non-native wasps may have complemented the indigenous parasitoids in combination with application of entomopathogenic fungi (EPFs) and conservation of predatory ants (Oecophylla longinoda Latreille, with O. smaragdina) in fruit fly IPM plans. Consequently, some levels of decline in fruit infestation have been observed. Although interspecific interactions between BCAs against several insect pests have produced varying results, including threatening the survival of other BCAs, the prevalence of B. dorsalis in orchards across SSA requires further research to investigate effects of coalescing biocontrol approaches in IPM strategies. Therefore, future research into combining parasitoids, EPFs and entomopathogenic nematodes, in addition to conservation of predatory ants (O. longinoda, O. smaragdina and others) in IPM plans may improve the effectiveness of currently used strategies for the management of fruit-infesting tephritids.