AU: 100 million sterile fruit flies unleashed on metro outbreaks

Almost 100 million super-attractive sterile fruit flies will be released across Adelaide’s suburbs over the coming weeks in an all-out assault against eight current metropolitan fruit fly outbreaks.

Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) flies will be unleashed on outbreaks in Blair Athol, Croydon Park, Angle Park, Rosewater, Semaphore Park, Pooraka, Campbelltown and Klemzig - impacting more than 250 suburbs across Adelaide.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the use of SIT flies is a key weapon in helping to eradicate the metropolitan outbreaks.

“With eight outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide we must use every tool at our disposal to defend against this devastating plant pest,” said Minister Basham.

“The use of SIT flies has played an important role in eradicating previous fruit fly outbreaks in South Australia. It is expected the release of 100 million sterile flies will help to knock out the Mediterranean fruit fly population in Adelaide as we come into the warmer, more active months for fruit flies.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to eradicating fruit fly to protect the state’s $1.3 billion fruit fly vulnerable horticulture industry.

“The clean-up of ripe fruit across the suburbs and organic pesticide has reduced the wild fly population and now the Sterile Insect Technology is being brought in to wipe out any remaining wild flies in the outbreak areas. Once released, the SIT flies mate with any remaining wild flies, with millions of sterile flies they simply overwhelm the wild fly population.

“We have eight outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide impacting suburbs from the beach to the hills and from Cross Road to the northern suburbs and we need to do everything we can to get rid of this pest.

“Our fruit fly pest free status gives our food producers a market advantage around the world and enables them to grow fruit without the need for pesticides or costly treatments. Not only can fruit fly be devastating for our primary producers but as we are seeing right now it has a huge impact on everyday backyard growers.

“With the long weekend coming up it’s crucial everyone plays their part in keeping South Australia fruit fly free. I’d encourage everyone to remove all ripe fruit from trees, pick up any that has fallen to the ground and do not travel across the state with any fresh fruit or vegetables.

“If you notice anything unusual in your fruit, please seal it in an airtight container and call the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010. We appreciate the ongoing co-operation of residents in the impacted areas to get on top of these fruit fly outbreaks.”

Quarantine restrictions in affected areas are due to be lifted without further detections by December 2020.

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