Fruit fly and home gardeners

Typically, at this time of year fruiting plants are finishing off in urban areas of the Goulburn Murray Valley as fruit is harvested, eaten by birds or deteriorate and fall off due to hot, dry weather. As a result of current weather conditions fruit and fruit flies are staying on the landscape longer than usual in urban areas. Queensland fruit fly are living longer, laying more eggs – and staying for longer periods in urban areas. This significant urban population typically spreads to commercial orchards in late summer and autumn in response to large volumes of ripening and ripe fruit.

Stop the spread

Irrigation provides ideal conditions for fruit fly maturation, survival and proliferation in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. Fruit fly populations can explode and then, when crops in urban locations are diminished, will move out of urban areas and through peri-urban places and into commercial orchards. This migration is facilitated by high volumes of fruit in commercial orchards ripening from February to May.

If urban growers can control fruit fly in their gardens using management strategies, they will achieve good production and assist commercial growers by cutting off the urban-to-rural migration of fly.

Fruit fly control

Fruit fly control by home gardeners and property owners is essential and includes:

  • netting
  • baiting
  • trap monitoring
  • regular inspection of fruit
  • host plant removal

Hot spot activity

The below locations are of concern as they could become sites from which large numbers of fruit fly could establish and spread. Anyone with a garden, property or orchard in these areas should take precautions to reduce the ability of fruit fly to infest fruit and survive in them.

Ardmona Katunga Tatura

Avenel Kyabram Toolamba

Barooga Merrigum Tungamah

Cobram Mooroopna Undera

Echuca Orrvale Violet Town

Euroa Shepparton Yarrawonga

Finley Strathmerton

Hot spots can be habitual, where they occur each year at approximately the same time or can be a new hot spot where fruit fly have moved into a new area, settle there and proliferate. Active Area Wide Management strategies will over time ease these hot spots.

There have been some successes in hot spot deletion in the region since the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly program commenced.