Time to take action

It is usual at this time of year that the greatest number of trapped fruit fly occur in urban areas where winter temperatures are higher than rural locations and the diversity of fruiting plants available to infest is higher. Queensland fruit fly populations are in the middle of the spring peak. These flies are overwintering adult fruit flies that have left their winter refuges in search of mates and fruit to infest. Management in urban areas early in the season will assist in reducing fruit fly’s impact on commercial growers later in the season.

Fruit fly build up from November onwards in urban areas and spread from urban areas to rural areas from March onwards, as commercial orchards start to ripen. Conditions this season are favourable for fruit fly survival and population build-up.

Extra vigilance

Current hot spot locations include:

  • Kyabram
  • Orrvale
  • Mooroopna
  • Shepparton

Advice for home gardeners

  • Remove unwanted fruiting plants
  • Harvest fruit and use, or destroy what you don’t want
  • Place traps out and check regularly for sign of fruit fly population build-up
  • Check ripening fruit for sting marks or maggots
  • Netting whole plants, fruiting branches, fruit trusses or individual fruit is an effective way of protecting fruit
  • Placement of baits is recommended – the more people participating in a coordinated neighbourhood baiting program the better
  • Don’t restrict your vigilance to your backyard – fruit fly can be in fruit in your front yard, nearby vacant land, untended crops, roadsides, creek banks, etc.

Advice for peri-urban landowners

  • Use traps and check fruit for stings and larvae now so that you know when fruit fly is starting to build up
  • Removal of fruiting plants or their fruit will help in reducing the numbers of fruit fly breeding in your area
  • Baiting can be very effective in peri-urban locations if fruit fly numbers build up to damaging levels
  • Consider using netting for special crops

Fruit fly move from urban sites through peri-urban areas and into commercial orchards during the late summer and autumn. Control of fruit fly in urban and peri-urban locations will assist commercial growers in controlling fruit fly in their crops.