Spring into action to tackle fruit fly in home gardens

With spring 2017 in full swing and temperatures rising, Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) will become more active, so it’s a great time for home gardeners to step up their efforts and keep gardens pest-free.

QFF poses a significant risk to Victoria’s $2.4 billion horticultural industry and the successful management of QFF depends on active participation from both backyard and commercial growers.

Agriculture Victoria’s Statewide Fruit Fly Coordinator, Cathy Mansfield, says QFF control strategies are most effective when everyone gets involved.

“Controlling QFF in your backyard protects your produce, reduces fly numbers in townships and supports control efforts across the state. Citrus such as lemons are now ripe and a target for fruit fly. As the weather warms up later in spring, plantings of tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants and stonefruit will all be attractive to QFF. Luckily there are a number of control methods you can use in your home garden.”

According to Ms Mansfield, combining different methods and coordinating efforts with neighbours provides the greatest chance of successful control.

Good garden hygiene: Pick fruit and vegetables as they ripen. Unwanted produce and produce that has fallen or is rotten must be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left for five to seven days in the sun to destroy QFF larvae. Do not add unwanted fruit to your compost or worm farm or place directly into your rubbish bin.

Regular monitoring: Most fruit is attacked by QFF as it matures so you should monitor regularly. You can do this by using traps or by checking for small puncture marks called stings on fruit skins.

Exclusion: Place physical barriers over trees and plants to prevent QFF reaching the fruit. Effective options include netting, gazebos and bags. These are available from your local nursery or hardware retailer.

Baiting and trapping: Traps and baits intended to kill QFF before they attack fruit can be purchased from hardware stores, nurseries and online. Look for traps that will kill female flies as well as males.

Insecticide control: Insecticides that kill QFF are available from local chemical or home garden retailers.

Source: Agriculture Victoria