Chile: Hi-tech tools to combat fruit flies

The Agricultural and Livestock Service, SAG, continues its fight against the fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata). Currently, it is using remote solar traps, equipped with a camera and autonomous climate sensors, to detect this dreaded agricultural pest in real time and optimizing resources. The experimental plan was presented in the commune of Pica by the Regional Minister of Agriculture, Fernando Chiffelle and the Director of the Tarapaca region SAG, Sue Vera, who supervised the installation of 35 of these experimental traps.

The Regional Minister of Agriculture of Tarapaca, Fernando Chiffelle, said "we are incorporating technology that will allow us to, for example, send information by phone to know what kind of fly was caught in these new traps, optimizing important human resources, as officials won't have to go to extreme locations to check the traps in person."

Marco Muñoz, the head of the Plant Health Department of the SAG said, "this pilot plan has a statistical design that was created with the help of the University of Chile, to validate the sensitivity of this trap and to compare it with a traditional Jackson trap."

"The device is made up of a Jackson trap that was placed on a platform that has photovoltaic cells in its upper base so that it has the autonomy to work. It has a temperature and humidity sensor and a camera to take pictures, so that an algorithm identifies if the insects captured are fruit flies or other kinds of insects; thus allowing us to make a quick diagnosis. This type of tool allows us to explore its use for other quarantine pests for our country," Muñoz said.

The authorities made a positive balance of the application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). It has been carried out in Pica since the beginning of the year and more than 48 million sterile males have already been released to prevent this pest from reproducing. As a result, to date, no wild specimens have been detected in this oasis.

Finally, the authorities asked citizens not to enter banned products of vegetable or animal origin into Chile, nor to consume food from contraband, as this is the way that pests and diseases that could seriously affect the country's agriculture and environment enter the country.

Source: SiMFRUIT according to information from Senasa


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