Following on from the hottest winter on record, fruit fly has unfortunately already made its presence felt in the Wide Bay-Burnett. In fact, local agronomist at Total Grower Services, Eddie Dunn, was seeing evidence of fruit fly back in August, while out scouting for signs of other pests and diseases.
“October is the usually the time of year that they are at their worst, but it looks as though their peak period was a bit earlier than usual this year,” said Eddie.
Fruit fly, or ‘Qfly’, is Australia’s most significant horticultural pest and a major biosecurity problem on both the domestic and international market. Adult fruit fly lay their eggs in ripe fruit and the larvae feed on the flesh of the fruit making it unsightly, inedible and unmarketable. As cover spray options for fruit fly control become fewer (due to increasing pest resistance to pesticides) growers are increasingly required to resort to other tools for managing pests.
Dr Jenny Ekman of Applied Horticulture Research (AHR) has put together an excellent resource on identifying and managing fruit fly, called Fruit Fly Management for Vegetable Growers. The guide has lots of close up photos of fruit fly in all stages of its life cycle and loads of information on farm hygiene practices that can assist in the management of fruit fly. You can download a copy of the guide here.
Other resources available online to growers on managing fruit fly is a fantastic series of short videos (also created by AHR) called Controlling Fruit Fly in Vegetables. The series is broken up according to topic – targeted control, monitoring, food based baits, male annihilation/female-biased traps, and netting/repellents and field hygiene. Each video is only 2 to 4 minutes long and worthwhile watching. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) also has extensive information online, not only on fruit fly but many other horticulture pests (including fruit spotting bug, which was the one that Eddie was looking out for) – you can check out their A-Z list of horticulture pests here.
- Dr Jenny Ekman, Applied Horticulture Research. Fruit Fly Management for Vegetable Growers.
- Photo credit: Dr Jenny Ekman, Applied Horticulture Research. Fruit Fly Management for Vegetable Growers.
- Queensland Government. (2012) A-Z List of Horticultural Pests (website).
Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation.