Within the FF-IPM Project framework, David Nestel’s group in the Agricultural Research Organization of Israel (ARO) has recently deployed an advanced e-trapping system. The implementation took place just before the enforcement of compulsory confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FF-IPM partner group in Israel was able to establish one out of ten e-traps in the suburbs of Tel Aviv to perform an initial evaluation of a completely redesigned system which also includes modification of the energy source. The e-trap, baited with methyl eugenol to attract adults of the invasive peach fruit fly (Bactrocera zonata), has been installed on a citrus host tree (photo 1). This trap has been transmitting daily frames of the target sticky yellow board, where fruit flies (FF) are immobilized and photographed (photo 2).
During regular periods, conventional traps are serviced once every week or every two weeks. Under emergency conditions, such as the one we are currently facing, access to the field is restricted. The development and advancement of the e-trap in an important first step, one that demonstrates the value of the system for early warning of invasive FF. The automated recording of captured flies is a breakthrough towards reducing surveillance cost, achieving real time information from the field, and avoiding halting of surveillance efforts. The images produced by the e-trap (such as ph. 2) will be automatically analyzed by an image-analysis algorithm which is currently being developed by the FF-IPM group using machine-learning technology and the artificial creation of hundreds of images of FFs using the “Fruit Fly Photographic Studio”. We will keep you posted with future press releases and announcements on further advances achieved.