Community assistance required for fruit fly control program

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is calling for community assistance to help protect the region’s valuable fruit production areas from Queensland fruit fly.

NSW DPI Senior Regulatory Officer – Southern Zone, Wayne Norden, said an extensive fruit fly control program is in place in the Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone, but the job was made much more effective when individual property owners took responsibility for their fruit trees.

“The region depends on a healthy fruit and vegetable industry and the fallout from a fruit fly outbreak affects not just the growers, but the community as a whole,” he said.

“We are targeting the Griffith, Hillston and Leeton areas and help from residents will play a big role in the work to control the recent fruit fly outbreak.

“People need to be vigilant in the way they manage their backyard fruit trees.”

He said there were a number of ways the community can help which includes:

Strip grapefruit trees as soon as possible (if possible by mid October). Fruit fly larvae are known to thrive in grapefruit, and cover sprays are not very effective at killing them.

Reduce lemon numbers to an absolute minimum and keep only what is required for consumption.

Strip all cumquat trees of fruit as soon as possible. Fruit fly larvae have been found in cumquats already this season.

As navel oranges are approaching the end of the season, any unused fruit should be stripped from trees.

Carefully monitor Valencia orange trees and notify NSW DPI of any suspicions of fruit fly.

Loquat trees should be stripped of fruit if possible. The current fruit fly outbreaks began when fruit fly larvae were found in loquats last season.

Apricots and early nectarines are highly susceptible to fruit fly attack and should be cover sprayed in your household treatment program as they begin to ripen.

Dispose of any fallen and unwanted fruit by placing it in sealed plastic bags. Leave the bags in the sun for a few days to kill any larvae before placing in the bin.

Don’t compost fallen fruit as the larvae can survive and cause new outbreaks.

If you have unmanageable trees contact NSW DPI for advice and possible assistance.

Mr Norden said it is important that backyard fruit owners thinned their crops wherever possible.

“This will have a twofold effect – there will be less susceptible fruit available and the thinning process should ensure bigger, healthier fruit is left on the tree to ripen,” he said.

“Once the fruit is ripe, it should be picked straight away.”

To notify NSW DPI of any suspicions of fruit fly infestation please contact (02) 6951 2651.

Follow the NSW DPI on Twitter:!/nswdpi