The Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) is a native fly from northern Australia that has become a serious horticultural pest. As Melbourne’s average climate is becoming warmer, QFF is becoming an increasing risk to both local horticultural industries and backyard fruit and veggie growers.
How do QFFs affect crops?
Female flies lay their eggs in the fruit of plants. These eggs hatch, and larvae consume the fruit from within, causing the fruit to rot prematurely. A large infestation can decimate an entire crop, and the flies spread into surrounding gardens and farms. This can be devastating to both backyard growers and farmers.
Which are the favourite fruits of the QFF?
| Cape Goseberry
|| Kiwi Fruit
|| Nashi Pear
Its important for everyone who grows fruit and vegetables to take action to control and prevent QFF.
Protect your produce
- Physical barriers such as insect netting and fruit sleeves can be used over susceptible crops to prevent QFF from laying eggs in fruit.
- Once pollination of flowers has occurred, and plants have set fruit, place the netting over the plants and secure it to prevent access.
- Ensure that fruit is not touching the net, as the fly can inject eggs into the fruit through the net if pushing up against it.
Practice good garden hygiene
- Pick all fruit and vegetables as soon as they ripen.
- Pick up any fallen fruit and vegetables to ensure that any potential larvae are not able to enter the soil to pupate.
- If you no longer wish to harvest food from your plants, remove them from your garden.
- If there is a potential host plant on your naturestrip and the fruit is not being harvested for use, contact Council to arrange its removal and replacement with an alternative species that is not a potential QFF host.
Dispose of unwanted produce appropriately
If you suspect that your fruit or vegetables are affected by fruit fly, the fruit should be treated before disposal to prevent QFF spread.
To stop the QFF lifecycle and prevent spread:
- Place fruit into a sealed bag and freeze solid (more than 2 days)
- Place fruit into a sealed bag and leave in the hot (Summer) sun for two weeks
- Microwave or boil fruit to kill off any maggots.
- The treated fruit should then be placed inside your rubbish bin. Please do not compost potentially affected fruit or vegetables, or place them in your green bin.
Install fruit fly traps in your garden or orchard
- An ‘eco-lure’ pheromone trap can be purchased from garden centres to monitor for male fruit flies. These should be hung in a tree and checked at least weekly.
- A DIY protein fruit fly trap can be placed in your garden to attract females, who then drown in the mixture. These can be checked for any flies at least weekly.
- You can make a trap using an empty soft-drink bottle and lid and homemade bait. Note that these traps can also attract insects that are good for your garden.
- In an empty soft-drink bottle, cut three holes about the size of a 10 cent piece, 10cm from the top.
- Add the bait mixture to the bottle. Pour in 1 cup of 100 per cent fruit juice (including pulp) and 1 tablespoon of cloudy ammonia (or wheelie bin cleaner).
- Tie a string around the neck of the bottle and hang it from the tree in the shade, 1m to 1.5m off the ground.
- The mixture can last up to 3 weeks, but should be changed weekly for best results.
If you think you have found QFF in your garden or produce, contact the Yarra Valley QFF Regional Coordinator, Bron Koll on 0490 381 999 or email email@example.com