It is spring and fruit fly’s on the move

Pest fruit flies, such as the Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) cause significant damage to fruit grown in home gardens, feral and untended fruiting plants and commercial orchards. This damage adversely impacts the consumption of fresh produce, returns from crop production and domestic and international trade in horticultural products. This is where fruit fl y traps, baits and exclusion barriers come into the equation. Early intervention with these technologies, if deployed correctly, will reduce QFF population build-up before it wreaks havoc on local production and spreads into neighbouring areas.

Area-wide control

The efficiency of back yard use of baits can be improved significantly if baits are applied in as many neighbouring back yards as possible. This is the basis of area-wide management (AWM). When added to the list of AWM strategies baiting can be as effective a technology for urban areas as it is for larger-scale commercial areas. AWM strategies include:

  • Monitoring and control with traps
  • Removal of unwanted QFF host plants
  • Clean-up and disposal of fallen and unwanted fruit
  • Whole-of-community awareness of, and action against, fruit fly
  • Pruning host plants for improved QFF management
  • Male annihilation technique (MAT) with male-targeting pads, blocks, gels
  • Netting, pesticide application, QFF repellents, baiting

Bait efficacy

Baits do not remain attractive to QFF for very long — one week at the most in the summer — and need to be reapplied every seven days during the peak QFF season (from about late August to mid-May in most areas). The most important issues that must be satisfied for the successful use of baits are:

  • Use freshly made bait at each application, made according to label directions (and make sure the baits are not outside their use-by date)
  • Ensure even coverage of bait over the area to be treated
  • Ensure the bait remains on the plants to be treated (not on the ground)
  • Re-apply baits each week
  • Re-apply after rain (or overhead irrigation)

Commit or quit

Take advantage of the free urban fruit tree removal program for free removal of unwanted host plants or fruit trees. If you have unmanaged or abandoned orchards that are a breeding habitat for QFF and need to be removed, contact the Goulburn Murray Valley Queensland Fruit Fly Office by phone on (03) 5871 9222 or by emailing so you can be guided through the application process.