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Council investigates possible fruit fly outbreak

Close up of Queensland fruit fly.

Council is calling on residents to check their fruit fly monitoring traps after a possible outbreak in the shire.

Friday 3 April 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council is investigating a possible outbreak of Queensland fruit fly in the southern part of Castlemaine.

A resident discovered an adult fly with markings consistent with Queensland fruit fly in a monitoring trap. The fly has been sent to Agriculture Victoria for identification.

“We are taking this seriously and have implemented our Queensland fruit fly emergency outbreak plan,” said Tracey Watson, Coordinator Public and Environmental Health, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“The plan involves working closely with the community to monitor other instances of fruit fly and reduce the likelihood of it taking hold in our shire,” said Ms Watson.

“We expect to have the identification results back next week from Agriculture Victoria. In the meantime residents are busy dropping off monitoring traps to households in nearby streets to see whether this is a one-off or if similar flies are active,” she said.

Over the last 12 months Harcourt Valley Landcare and Council have handed out 400 free Queensland fruit fly monitoring traps.

“Now is the time to check your traps! We want everyone to take a look every day or two and keep an eye out for Queensland fruit fly,” said Ms Watson.

Queensland fruit fly are small – about 5mm to 8mm long. They are brown and have reddish eyes with yellow ‘shoulder pads’ and other markings including a yellow triangle at the base of the mid-section.

Council will keep the community informed on the identification results.

“So many members of our community love growing food in our backyard. Queensland fruit fly can quickly take hold and destroy all your harvest – we definitely don’t want them in our shire,” said Ms Watson.

Harcourt Valley Fruit Fly Action Group developed the emergency plan last year. The plan is thought to be the first of its kind to take a community-led rather than commercial-grower approach to manage the pest.

The outbreak plan includes five stages:
- Confirm the identity
- Destroy infected fruit
- Alert the community
- Monitor with traps
- Eradicate and exclude (with nets, baits and traps)

For more information on the plan and photos to help identification visit www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/FruitFly.

Images: Adult female Queensland fruit fly (Image Agriculture Victoria); adult Queensland fruit fly (Image James Niland). The Queensland fruit fly is about 5-8mm long with reddish eyes. It is brown with yellow ‘shoulder pads’ and other markings including a yellow triangle at the base of the mid-section.

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