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Media Release - March 14, 2018
 
Critical chance to break fruit fly cycle
Delivery is completed for fruit fly traps in urban areas - please hang up your trap

A fruit fly ovipositing (laying eggs) on an unripe guava - photograph courtesy Jaye Newman QUT

Sunraysia communities have a critical opportunity over the next month to help break the cycle of the region’s biggest horticultural threat, Queensland Fruit Fly, according to the lead organisation working to control the pest.

Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area regional coordinator Deidre Jaensch said data was showing the community’s sustained efforts over summer were having an impact.

“We have just completing a third distribution of fruit fly traps and amulets to urban households, but we’re asking people to stick with us and make sure that, as a community, we don’t drop the ball,” Ms Jaensch said.

“It’s been a bad year for fruit fly and that’s meant we needed to work harder to get numbers back down again,” she said.

“But our communities have come in behind us and the really pleasing aspect is that where there’s been mass trapping, the official data monitoring is showing lower fly numbers.

“Autumn control is just as important as spring control and just because the weather has cooled down, that doesn’t mean the flies have finished reproducing.

“It’s important to hang up the traps we’ve just delivered because they’re working on reducing the next generation.

“Lowering the population that might survive the winter is our once-a-year opportunity to put ourselves into a strong position for next year.”

Ms Jaensch said although summer fruit varieties were currently finishing, people still needed to keep an eye on their trees, monitor traps, and pick up fallen fruit.

“I’m seeing trees with apples on that are already infested now,” Ms Jaensch said.

“People who are in that situation might hang up their traps now, then when they pick their fruit in a couple of weeks’ time and it’s infested, they’ll think the trap hasn’t worked.

“The traps recently distributed will target the young juvenile flies and disrupting the mating process.

“People forget that we have fruit varieties that continue into the winter and QFF will migrate through-out the district following the wave of ripening fruit. It’s a year-round commitment and it’s that awareness that we’re trying to help people understand.”

In addition to three mass-trapping exercises, householders have got on-board with the GSPFA’s free tree removal program, still underway.

“There’s no way to sugar coat it – it’s tough to manage fruit trees against fruit fly, and if you don’t have the time, money, or interest in maintaining the trees, it’s best to remove them, or reduce the number you have,” Ms Jaensch said.

“People are hearing that message and since Christmas, we have had more than 600 trees removed across the region, from Barham through to Wentworth.

“That’s a huge response, after a big year of removals last year.  Since December 2016, we have removed 1500 trees from the region.

“Funding is still available, but the tree removal program won’t run forever, so if people have been thinking about it, they should act now.”

Ms Jaensch said the results showed that mass trapping, when given widespread community support, did reduce fruit fly numbers.

“But there are still a lot of flies around, so while there are fruit trees in our gardens, we need to continue being vigilant,” she said.