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Act now to stop Queensland fruit fly

Close up of Queensland fruit fly.

Monday 7 April 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council is calling for residents to act quickly to help prevent a widespread outbreak of Queensland fruit fly, following the first ever confirmed report of the pest in Castlemaine.

An interim report from Agriculture Victoria has confirmed the adult fly and larvae sent for identification last week are Queensland fruit fly. A full report will be provided this week.

The fly was discovered in a fruit fly monitoring trap in Greenhill Avenue in Castlemaine. The larvae were present in nashi pears at the same location.

“Now we know there is Queensland fruit fly in Castlemaine we really do need to act straight away,” said Tracey Watson, Coordinator Public and Environmental Health, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“By working collectively our community can get on top of this pest before it becomes widespread,” said Ms Watson.

Things you can do:
- Check your monitoring traps for fruit fly
- Keep an eye out for grubs or larvae in your fruit or vegetables
- Remove unwanted fruit from trees
- Pick up fallen fruit off the ground.

Queensland fruit fly are very small – just over half a centimetre long. They are brown with yellow shoulder pads and a yellow triangle on their mid-section.

The larvae are white or cream and range from 2 mm to 9 mm long. They are wedge-shaped and plumper at the tail end. Mature larvae have a small black feeding hook.

“If you find infected fruit put it in a sealed plastic bag and leave it in the sun for five days. You can also boil the fruit or pop them in your freezer. This will kill any pupae and larvae,” said Ms Watson.

“Unfortunately you won’t destroy them just by putting them in your compost or rubbish bin,” she said.

A monitoring program has begun around Greenhill Avenue in Castlemaine as part of the community’s Queensland fruit fly emergency outbreak plan. To date no other flies have been detected.

“Harcourt Valley Landcare Group and Council have handed out more than 400 free fruit fly monitoring traps to residents in the last year. This is the time to check them every few days to make sure we get on top of any outbreak,” said Ms Watson.

“By working together we can help to protect our local fruit growing industry and also the many residents who love growing fruit and veggies in their backyard.”

If you suspect you have Queensland fruit fly contact Council on 5471 1700. Photos to help identification are available on Council’s website at 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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