Home gardeners essential to control efforts
The 2020/21 Queensland fruit fly season has been longer and more severe than usual.
You and your garden are part of the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Program, funded by the Victorian Government. What you do now will impact fruit fly numbers in your garden next spring.
Fruit fly hot spots
Increased fruit fly pressure has come about due to warmer and wetter weather than usual and the presence of more unharvested fruit still on-trees or fallen to the ground.
Hot spots identified in the Goulburn Murray Valley between July 2020 and May 2021 are:
Ripe fruit still on the plant or ground can still be infested by fruit fly right now in most areas of the region. Generally, from May onwards, eggs, larvae and pupae from these infested fruit will die due to prolonged cold nights. However, some fruit may still be on-trees or on the ground in warmer, more moist microclimates in and around backyards.
It is important to pick, or pick up, and destroy unwanted fruit at this time of year, as adult flies may emerge from these fruit. These flies will hide in relatively warm spots in evergreen plants throughout winter and avoid traps due to the cold temperature, so won’t be detected until spring when the weather warms up and fruit get stung.
Things to do in May
- Pick up and dispose of (place in a plastic bag in the sun for 5 days and then throw out with the weekly garbage/compost) any fallen fruit in your yard, on the nature strip, on nearby creek banks or parks.
- Pick fruit still on the plant and use or dispose of as above.
- Prune your trees to keep them at a manageable height for next season’s fruit picking or for netting.
- Check ripe and ripening fruit for signs of fruit fly infestation – soft patches, brown to black sting marks, maggots.
- Check traps are within the use-by date and replace or recharge with new baits if required.
- Place traps around the house, especially in evergreen foliage near the house e.g. the lemon tree.
- Netting around most trees can be removed now but should remain if you have ripe or ripening fruit still in your yard.
- If you have fruit trees that you don’t use, consider removing them completely through the free Fruit Tree Removal Program and replacing with a non-fruiting plant.