If you grow fruit and vegetables in your garden, now is the time to start thinking about protecting them from Queensland fruit fly (QFF).
QFF has troubled the Goulburn Valley for some years, and populations tend to build up during spring and peak in summer, often as fruit is ripening.
Early Spring is when QFF emerge from overwintering, so it is important to set up traps to monitor if they are present and kill them before they mate and start laying eggs in fruit. This time of year, high risk hosts include late season citrus and early ripening loquats.
Other jobs for Spring, to tackle QFF are:
Practice good garden hygiene: Pick fruit and vegetables as they ripen and any fallen fruit. If the fruit has QFF eggs or larvae in it place it in a sealed plastic bag and leave it in the sun for five to seven days to destroy them. Do not add unwanted fruit to your compost or worm farm as the larvae will hatch.
Regular monitoring: Most fruit is attacked by QFF as the fruit matures so regular monitoring is important. You can do this by using traps or by checking for fruit damage or stings on fruit surfaces.
Baiting and trapping: Traps and baits targeting QFF before they attack fruit can be purchased from hardware stores, nurseries and online. Look for traps that will kill both female and male flies. Traps can also be home made (there are recipes on the web).
Exclusion: Place insect netting over trees and plants to prevent QFF reaching the fruit. Nets are available from your local nursery or hardware retailer.
Insecticide control: Insecticides can be used to kill adult QFF, again these are available from local chemical or home garden retailers.
Combining different control methods and coordinating efforts with neighbours provides the greatest chance of success.
It is important to control QFF in your backyard, not only to protect your fruit and vegetables but to reduce overall fly numbers in town and support state-wide efforts to control this pest which poses a significant risk to Victoria’s $2.4 billion horticulture industry.
Come and find out more:
When: Tuesday October 30, 9:30-10:30am
What: Queensland fruit fly Information session, presented by Megan Hill (Project Officer, Agriculture Victoria)
Where: Murchison Neighbourhood house