6 July 2023

A Life-Changing Experience

LCC student interns at Urban Garden Center

A Life-Changing Experience

For the many homeowners in attendance, the workshop on fruit flies hosted by Extension agents at the Urban Garden Center was a valuable, knowledge-gaining experience in fruit fly identification and management.

Participants listened as Extension’s Roshan Manandhar spoke about the four types of fruit flies in Hawaiʻi, three of which are both common and problematic in local gardens and orchards. Roshan explained that a good fruit fly suppression program starts with pest monitoring using a home-made trap, followed by collecting and destroying infested fruits, and then spraying protein bait to eliminate adult fruit flies. Afterward, the community members requested Roshan’s slides outlining common fruit flies, which lure to use, where to place traps in their yards, and how often traps should be replaced. 

Each participant made a trap and went home with the finished product, along with additional methyl eugenol and cue lure that is sold by the Oʻahu Master Gardener Program at UGC. One homeowner took extra brochures to share neighbors. Since insect pests fly over property boundaries, sharing proven methods to active managing pests is key to protecting fruits like starfruit and mango.   

But for Joseph Cabantog, a Leeward Community College agriculture student and CTAHR intern, working with Extension agentsat the Urban Garden Center meant much more. “My internship at UGC was a life-changing experience for me,” says. “Workingwith the Fruit Hui provided a one-of-a-kind chance to gain knowledge about the many types of fruit trees that can be cultivated in Hawaiʻi.”

Joseph actively joined the agents in demonstrating to participants how to make a trap out of an empty 2-liter soda bottle by cutting it into two parts and inserting a pheromone lure that attracts and traps male fruit flies. After the group took a walk through the demonstration gardens to see trap placement and sanitation methods used by the UGC Fruit Hui volunteers, he took delight in being part of the community's positive response to these educational efforts.” 

“This organization,” Joseph says, “allowed me to learn about sustainable horticulture practices, conservation of the environment, and the overwhelming beauty of nature. The skills and knowledge I gained while working at the center will remain with me forever.”

UGC faculty and staff are grateful for the perspective that Joseph brought and hope he will be able to transfer to UH West Oahu or Manoa campus to complete his bachelorʻs degree in Agriculture.

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