South Australia to release millions of sterile fruit flies

The South Australian government will release some 100 million sterile fruit flies from the sky in an attempt to try and eradicate the pests that are currently plaguing numerous suburbs. The Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) flies will be released from a low-flying airplane across 11 outbreak areas across metropolitan Adelaide and Renmark.

The program, under which 90 million sterile male insects will be released, will begin on Saturday and run over ten weeks with flights twice weekly. Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the male sterile fruit flies will seek out female fruit flies in the outbreak areas.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to eradicating fruit fly from South Australia and releasing sterile flies from the air is the latest weapon in our armoury,” Minister Basham said. “These sterile flies are bred to be strong, fit, and very attractive to the wild fruit flies. In total 90 million sterile flies will be released across 10 weeks with flights twice a week over outbreak areas where the sterile flies will breed with the wild flies meaning they can’t reproduce, and we break the life cycle.”

“As we continue to battle fruit fly outbreaks, it is vital South Australians continue to follow the strict quarantine rules in place to protect the $1.3 billion horticulture industry vulnerable to fruit fly. If you live in an outbreak area you must not move fruit and vegetables off your property, especially over the Easter long weekend and school holidays as many South Australians travel around the state.”

Restrictions are currently in place for the 11 metropolitan Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks and one Qfly outbreak until at least 18 December.


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