The physiological basis for host antibiosis or nonpreference to a quarantine pest is often not understood. Studies are needed on the mechanisms that impart resistance to better understand how resistance might fail. Experiments were conducted to examine the infestability of ‘Sharwil’ avocados by oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), and Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae), after harvest and to quantify the effect of avocado skin hardness on resistance to infestation by oriental fruit fly. Infestation rate increased with decreasing fruit firmness, but fruit were generally poor hosts. Fruit with a patch of skin removed produced more flies than intact fruit, suggesting that skin puncture resistance was an important deterrent to oviposition. This study showed that fruit can be infested within 1 d after harvest, suggesting that fruit should be transferred to fruit fly-proof containers as they are harvested to minimize the risk of attack. Although risk of infestation is negatively correlated with fruit firmness, even some hard fruit may become infested. Therefore, fruit firmness cannot be used alone as an indicator to ensure fruit fly-free ‘Sharwil’ avocados. Measuring fruit firmness may be a useful component of a multiple component systems approach as an additional safeguard to reduce risk of infestation.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3