Media Release - 14 November 2017
Call to hang out latest fruit fly traps
Happy volunteers - the Irymple Girl Guides were among the helpers getting traps out to households across the GSPFA
Households in urban areas across the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (GSPFA) are being urged to keep up their outstanding efforts in supporting local industries in the fight against fruit fly by hanging out their trap and amulet as soon as they arrive.
GSPFA Regional Coordinator Deidre Jaensch said that while there had been strong community support for the distribution of the fruit fly trap packages to urban residents earlier this month there is some confusion about how the traps work.
“The male and female traps last for only around three months. This means the new ones replace the old ones and they need to be installed as soon as they arrive to get the most out of the trap,” Ms Jaensch said.
“The mass-trapping exercise specifically targets the urban areas where there is a high density of houses, giving a high density of traps, and therefore increasing the chance of attracting and killing flies,” she said.
“We would love to be able to deliver a trap to every household across the 1.7 million hectares that make up the Pest Free Area, but unfortunately, we don’t have enough funds to do this, so we have to focus in the areas that have the worst problem.”
Ms Jaensch said flies breeding in urban backyards have the potential to then lay their eggs in fruit growing in the surrounding commercial areas.
“Sunraysia is one of the largest fruit growing regions in Australia producing millions of dollars of fresh produce that’s exported to the world, and Queensland Fruit Fly has been identified as the greatest insect biosecurity threat,” she said
“This is a serious problem for our horticulture industries and if they suffer, then the whole town suffers.”
Both female fruit fly traps and male amulet wicks (cardboard wafers) were distributed in the latest rollout with funding from Agriculture Victoria and the citrus, table grape and stone fruit industries in the Greater Sunraysia area. The BioTrap and the separate Amulet are used to attract and kill male and female fruit flies before they mate and produce eggs.
Ms Jaensch asked anyone who had received traps but had not yet installed them in their backyard to do so immediately.
“Putting up the traps not only shows the support of our community to the horticulture industries, but it will also help with managing fruit fly in urban gardens.”
But she said the traps were not a silver bullet, especially if people have a number of fruit trees or a big back yard.
“We recommend one trap per tree and you also need to have a number of strategies in place. There’s more information on our website and Facebook page about the other things that people can do,” Ms Jaensch said.
“A lot of the measures are things we already know and that we just need to keep doing – apply bait sprays every week for 6-8 weeks before harvest; cover trees or tree branches with insect nets; pick produce early, and don’t leave fruit to over-ripen and drop on the ground; pick up fruit from under trees and dispose of it by putting it in a sealed plastic bag and leaving it in the sun for a week – or microwaving or freezing it.
“Now is also the time people should put mosquito nets and bags in place to protect fruit.”
Ms Jaensch said a season-by-season guide on tasks around the garden was available on the GSPFA website and the GSPFA Facebook page would carry reminders for gardeners about the priority tasks.
Ms Jaensch said the reality is that if you want to grow fruit and vegetables in your own home garden it will now cost time and money to protect against fruit fly.
“If people don’t use the fruit on their trees anymore, they should remove the trees because unmanaged fruit trees are guaranteed to make the problem worse,” Ms Jaensch said.
For a limited time, the GSPFA offers a free tree removal service as this provides a long-term solution and reduces the pest pressure on surrounding industry. Target trees are early ripening varieties including loquats and stone fruit as well as late season varieties such as quinces, apples and pears.
Please ring the office for more information or to register your tree on 5022 0327. Conditions apply.
Remember, almost every type of fruit and fruiting vegetable is a potential host for fruit fly.
Don’t bring fruit or vegetables into the Pest Free Area
Advise visiting friends and relatives not to bring fruit or vegetables with them