Advice for home gardeners

Urban and township areas can expect to experience increased fruit fly activity in January, as is typical at this time of year. Effective fruit fly management in urban areas early in the season will assist in reducing the impact of the pest on commercial growers later in the season.

Home gardeners can undertake a few simple measures to help reduce the spread of fruit fly:

  • Remove unwanted fruiting plants
  • Harvest fruit and use or destroy all harvested fruit
  • Place traps out and check regularly for signs of fruit fly
  • Check ripening fruit for sting marks or maggots
  • Place netting over whole plants, fruiting branches, fruit trusses or individual fruit to protect crops
  • Baiting is not recommended for backyard growers unless everyone in the area starts and continues baiting together
  • Don’t restrict your vigilance to your backyard – fruit fly can be in fruit in your front yard, nearby vacant land, untended crops, roadsides and creek banks

Advice for peri-urban landowners

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

Landowners in peri-urban areas should carry out the following control measures:

  • Use traps and check fruit for stings and larvae now so you know when fruit fly is starting to build up
  • Remove fruiting plants and their fruit to help reduce 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

Hot spots

Extra vigilance and control efforts are required in the following hot spot areas:

  • Echuca Kyabram Mooroopna

Fruit fly activity

Urban locations record higher winter temperatures than rural locations offering ideal protection, while the diversity of fruiting plants is also higher in urban areas, which attracts fruit fly over the cooler months. These flies peak in December/January and numbers decline over the late summer in urban areas. However, it is very likely that these flies don’t actually die out – they just move from urban areas through peri-urban locations and into commercial orchards in early autumn – when large quantities of crops are ripening.