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Take action to fight fruit fly

Yellow Queensland Fruit Fly Trap

Learn how to protect our community from Queensland Fruit Fly this summer.

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Summer is an important time of the year to take action and help protect our community from an infestation of Queensland fruit fly.

Queensland Fruit Fly was confirmed in a number of locations in Castlemaine this year, for the first time ever. The pest can devastate commercial and backyard fruit and vegetable crops.

Mount Alexander Shire Council and the Harcourt Valley Fruit Fly Action Group are calling for the community to work together to help prevent any further outbreaks.

“The most important things you can do are the three Ps,” said Terry Willis from Harcourt Valley Fruit Fly Action Group.

“Prune, so trees are a nettable height; pick up fallen fruit; and protect with monitoring traps or incursion netting,” said Terry.

Here’s what you can do this summer:

- Don’t bring infected fruit into the shire
- Net your vegetable garden, fruit trees or bag individual fruit
- Pick fruit regularly and clean up fallen fruit
- Check tomatoes and fruit for sting marks
- Continue to trap and monitor fruit fly population levels weekly
- Prune trees to a manageable height so you can pick, net and check fruit
- Treat infected fruit by microwaving, freezing or placing the fruit in a sealed black plastic bag and leaving in the sun for at least seven days. The fruit must be disposed of in the rubbish bin, not in the compost.

Keep a look out for Queensland fruit fly:

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

The larvae are white or cream and two to nine mm long. They are wedge shaped and plumper at the tail end. A black feeding hook is visible in mature larvae. You may find between two and 20 larvae in the fruit.

The pupae are like a large grain of brown rice and vary in colour from cream to brown.

Infected fruit becomes soft and spongy and may start to rot. You may see sting marks on light coloured fruit. The flies may eat all the fruit and leave the skin.

If you need help to identify Queensland fruit fly you can post questions on the Mount Alexander Fruit Fly Facebook Group or find more information on Council’s website at www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/FruitFly.

The high risk fruits in summer are stone fruit such as cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. High risk vegetables are tomatoes, capsicums and chillies.

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