Comparison with late autumn 2018 trap captures show that, for the same four weeks in April – May 2018, the total number of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) caught was 1,411 (from about 310 traps) as opposed to the same period in 2019 with only 726 flies trapped (from about 350 traps). It is likely that the observed reduction in QFF numbers trapped, during this period is due to a combination of improved management of fruit fl ies and hot, dry summer weather. Rural sites are under much lower QFF pressure compared with this time last year. This is the usual cross-over time of the year when QFF move from urban sites into rural areas. The likely causes of the turn-around are that suitable fruit becomes limiting in urban areas as they are picked or destroyed by birds while commercial fruit in large quantities are now ripening in rural locations. This suggests that commercial orchards that are close to urban centres may be at a higher risk to QFF than those situated more distantly.
Current hot spots
If your commercial orchard is close to any of the following urban areas which are, at present, registering high QFF populations, you should be ready to commence QFF control programs (if you haven’t already done so):
It is highly recommended to ensure that your traps are fresh (following label instructions) and placed in suitable locations to intercept QFF coming into your orchard.
Cool overnight temperatures and cooler temperatures during the day in June will impact adversely on the survival of eggs and larvae that may currently be in fruit and also on pupae in soil. If maximum temperatures are higher than normal for June 2019, as is forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology, dusk temperatures may be at or above 15˚C. If this happens, QFF will mate and then lay eggs and therefore damage fruit. However, unless infested fruit is in an unusually warm position, it is unlikely that these eggs will mature to live adult flies however the fruit may still be damaged by egglaying female QFF.
If you have unmanaged or abandoned orchards that are a breeding habitat for QFF and need to be removed, funding is available to assist you. Simply contact the Goulburn Murray Valley Queensland Fruit Fly Office by phone on (03) 5871 9222 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be guided through the application process.