Skip to main content

Keep an eye out for the fruit fly and help prevent its spread

Published on 11 January 2019

Queensland_fruit_Fly_Agriculture_Victoria

Be on the lookout for the Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) over the warmer months, to help prevent its spread into the area, following a detection of the fly in Silvan.

The QFF is active year round, though populations increase in spring when temperatures rise. They can remain active in autumn and winter in warmer weather.

The QFF was detected in the Yarra Valley in February 2018. Containment and eradication treatments were then put in place by private landowners.

Unfortunately, the fruit fly was detected again, in Silvan, in January, 2019. Residents in the surrounding area are being notified of the detection and proactive measures that can be taken to help prevent the pest 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.

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.

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

Agribusiness Yarra Valley and Yarra Ranges Council recently received State Government grants to take actions on the QFF, including fly trapping programs delivered by Agribusiness Yarra Valley and Council auditing and removing potential host trees on public land.

This tree removal program has been running for several months in Wandin, Seville and Silvan, and will help to protect the area from the fruit fly.

These grants are part of the Managing Fruit Fly – Regional Grants Program.

For more tips on how to prevent and get rid of Queensland Fruit Flies, visit the Agriculture Victoria website 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.