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AU: Victoria calls for residents to help tackle fruit fly problem

With spring in full swing and temperatures rising the Queensland Fruit Fly is set to become more active and Agriculture Victoria is warning residents to be prepared. 

The Queensland Fruit Fly poses a risk to Victoria's $2.4 billion horticultural industry.

Agriculture Victoria’s statewide fruit fly coordinator Cathy Mansfield said successful management of the pest depended on active participation from both backyard and commercial growers.

“Control strategies are most effective when everyone gets involved,” she said.

"Controlling Queensland Fruit Fly (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. 

And as weather warms up later in spring, plantings of tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants and stonefruit will also be attractive to fruit fly. 

“Luckily there are a number of control methods you can use in your home garden,” Ms Mansfield said. 

“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.”

Ms Mansfield also warned residents to not add unwanted fruit to compost or worm farms, or to place them directly into rubbish bins. 

“Regular monitoring - Most fruit is attacked by QFF as it matures so you should monitor regularly,” she said.

“You can do this by using traps or by checking for small puncture marks called stings on fruit skins.

“You should place physical barriers over trees and plants to prevent QFF reaching the fruit.” 

Effective options included netting, gazebos and bags.

Ms Mansfield said traps and baits intended to kill QFF before they attacked fruit could be purchased from hardware stores, nurseries and online. 

“Look for traps that will kill female flies as well as males,” she said. “Insecticides that kill QFF are at local chemical or home garden retailers.”

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