Queensland Fruit Fly detected in Yarra Ranges

Published on 31 January 2024

A Queensland Fruit Fly at its adult stage.

Council is asking residents to be on the lookout for the Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) in coming months and help prevent its spread, after detections of the fly in the Yarra Ranges.

QFF has been detected in the Yarra Valley several times since February 2018.

Containment and eradication treatments were then put in place by private landowners, and Council has been working with Agribusiness Yarra Valley to notify nearby owners when QFF is detected and work on containment measures.

Unfortunately, the fruit fly has again been detected in the Yarra Ranges, in the Lilydale area in mid-January 2024.

The QFF is active in fruiting season, though populations increase in spring when temperatures rise above 16 degrees. They can remain active in autumn and winter in warmer weather.

Council and Agribusiness Yarra Valley will work with the landowners to contain and eradicate any QFF.

What is the Queensland Fruit Fly and why is it an issue in the Yarra Valley?

The Queensland Fruit Fly is a horticultural pest, which lays eggs in fruit and vegetables.

The damaged fruit and veggies rot inside while the eggs mature into larvae, making the produce inedible and unsaleable.

Fruit fly populations can increase in number quickly, and the damage to fruit can extend into neighbouring properties, or even across the region.

Common fruit hosts for fruit flies include:

•         oranges and lemons,

•         apples, pears and quince

•         peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots,

•         tomatoes and eggplants,

•         chillies and capsicums,

•         persimmons, loquats, figs, and kiwis,

•         strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries

•         prickly pear, pomegranates, and passion fruit

The Yarra Valley has valuable horticultural production properties and great home gardens with edible produce which is worth protecting.

How can I help prevent the Queensland Fruit Fly from spreading?

Residents with fruit trees can prune their trees to a reachable height, harvest fruit quickly and keep an eye out, as the fruit fly looks for ripe fruit to breed.

Good ways of preventing the spread of the Queensland Fruit Fly are:

  • Pruning fruit trees in gardens to a manageable size. Smaller fruit trees are easier to implement fruit fly controls on and are more manageable for home gardeners. Infestation can occur when fruit on high branches are left unharvested. The best time of year to prune fruit trees is in late winter and early spring, when trees are generally dormant.
  • Picking fruit before it falls from the tree. Damaged and fallen fruit can become a refuge for fruit fly maggots. Dispose of all fallen or damaged fruit properly to minimize the risk of spreading QFF.
  • If you have fruit grown in areas where QFF exists and are returning to the area, leave it behind, eat it all or cook it before bringing it into the Yarra Valley to protect the area.
  • Install QFF traps if you are in the Yarra Valley, and monitor each week for flies.
  • Apply fruit fly bait on trees and leaves if you’ve had a detection in your area. The bait will kill flies.

Infested fruit or vegetables can be microwaved to kill maggots. Alternatively, fruit and vegetables can be frozen for two days to kill off maggots and larvae before they are disposed of.

It’s important that infested fruit is destroyed, so that fly larvae don’t develop into adults and spread across the valley.

Do not compost infested fruit, but keep a sample for testing in a sealed container in your fridge.

QFF traps and bait are available at garden centres or online.

How can I find out more?

For more tips on how to prevent and get rid of Queensland Fruit Flies, visit the Agriculture Victoria website, Keep the Yarra Valley Fruit Fly Free on Facebook and fruitflyfreeyv.com.au

If you suspect you have a QFF issue please call Bronwyn Koll on 0490381999 or send an email to qff@agribusiness-yarravalley.com for support and assistance with additional trapping.





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