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Trees to be removed to prevent fruit fly spread

Published on 07 November 2018

2017 Queensland_Fruit_Fly biostim.jpg

Potential host trees for the Queensland fruit fly (QFF) will be removed from Council land in high risk areas, in an effort to prevent the pest’s spread over the summer months.

Council will shortly begin works to remove and mulch potential host trees from public land in Wandin East, Wandin North, Silvan and Seville, ahead of the fruit harvest season.

“In September, we asked residents to keep an eye out for the Queensland fruit fly and to do their bit by maintaining fruit trees and picking ripe fruit,” Cr Cox said.

“It’s easy for the fruit fly to spread when there’s ripe fruit left on trees or on the ground, and unfortunately, fruit trees on public property don’t always get the close attention as those in people’s backyards and in orchards.

“Now, it’s time for us to do our bit. Removing these trees will mean we can ensure the fruit fly doesn’t have opportunity to spread, reduces the risk of other horticultural pest insects that spread using unmanaged fruit trees as a host, and also reduces the risk of other biosecurity concerns such as Fire Blight.”

Residents can help to prevent the spread of the Queensland fruit fly by:

Pruning and shaping fruit trees to a manageable size.
Smaller fruit trees are easier to implement fruit fly controls on, and are more manageable as the fruit is easier to harvest. Insect infestation can occur when the fruit on high branches is left unharvested.
If you missed the winter pruning window, Spring is a good time to train the fruit tree branches to achieve a better tree shape and height. Thin the fruit by reducing excess fruit clustered in bunches, leaving single fruit evenly spaced and with enough room for each fruit to grow. 

Picking fruit before it falls from the tree.
If QFF larvae are present, fallen fruit can promote the continuation of the QFF lifecycle, increasing the population of serious concern in an area. Dispose of all fallen or damaged fruit properly to minimize the risks. Organise help to harvest fruit if you are away.

Don’t transport infested fruit
If you are returning to the Yarra Valley and have bought fruit grown in areas with QFF, leave it behind, eat it all, or cook it before bringing it into the Yarra Valley. The larvae hide inside the fruit and are hard to see.

Infested fruit or vegetables can be boiled or microwaved to kill all the larvae. Alternatively, produce can be frozen solid to kill QFF larvae before they are disposed of.

The fruit fly was detected in the Yarra Valley last summer. Containment and eradication treatments were then put in place by private landowners.

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

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Council undertook an audit of potential Queensland fruit fly host trees on public land in high-risk areas in 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.

For more tips on how to prevent and get rid of QFF, visit 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.