New season populations
Queensland fruit fly numbers increased in urban areas throughout the region in December 2020, representing the start of the new season’s fruit fly population. If not controlled, these populations will explode to large numbers causing significant damage to fruit across the Goulburn Murray Valley from February to April 2021.
Higher levels of rainfall, along with increased humidity and fruit set, as a result of the La Niña weather pattern occurring across much of South Eastern Australia, provides favourable conditions for further population expansion.
Fruit fly hot spots
The following urban areas have been identified through trapping data as fruit fly hot spots:
These sites cover a large part of the Goulburn Murray Valley region and if not managed efficiently, hot spots will spread from these sites into the rest of the region immediately surrounding them. New generations will emerge from these flies and spread in a ripple effect further out into commercial crops nearby in autumn – when most commercial crops in the region ripen.
Urban control essential
The majority of the Queensland fruit fly trapped in the last four months of 2020 were found in urban locations. These urban fruit flies, if not controlled sufficiently, will expand over the next two generations and spread into commercial orchards in late summer and autumn.
The efforts of home gardeners to control fruit fly now in the summer of 2021, will be of immense use to commercial growers and the entire community in autumn 2021. Community-wide monitoring and protection against Queensland fruit fly will allow home garden producers to enjoy the benefits of fewer fruit fly destroying their produce, in addition to assisting their commercial neighbours.
Stop the spread
Queensland fruit fly populations are reducing due to the area-wide management activities carried out by the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Project however continued vigilance is required to stop the spread.
Essential strategies for home gardeners with a fruit tree or vegetable patch include:
- monitoring through trapping
- regular inspection of fruit
- use of baits and netting
- pick fruit early or as it ripens