Education driving down fruit fly numbers

Feb. 21, 2023 | 5 Min read
The area wide management of Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) in Victoria’s Goulburn Murray Valley remains a focal point for the region, with increased education cited as critical in driving down fruit fly numbers and achieving a sustainable management model.

The area wide management of Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) in Victoria’s Goulburn Murray Valley remains a focal point for the region, with increased education cited as critical in driving down fruit fly numbers and achieving a sustainable management model.

The Goulburn Murray Valley Area Wide Management Program brings together industry, community and government to achieve a coordinated approach to the management of the pest.

The program’s 2023–25 Regional Implementation Plan aims to create a region free from the effects of Qfly to ensure the local growing industry can thrive and home gardeners can enjoy their fresh produce.

Acting regional coordinator Penny Aston said the program’s newly adopted Regional Implementation Plan places an emphasis on ensuring the sustainability of the program to allow for certainty around future control and recording strategies, while also drawing on a modern education approach to strengthen community ownership and awareness of fruit fly control.

“We are turning our attention to ensure long term sustainability of area wide management activities. The program will continue to explore opportunities to draw on leading edge technology to improve outcomes in the area of fruit fly control and work collaboratively with a range of different key stakeholders and funding contributors.”

Ms Aston said the plan outlines strategies and key focus areas to support area wide management of fruit fly through a series of coordinated actions.

“Commercial growers, home gardens and the broader community all have an important role to play in protecting our region from the impacts of fruit fly. Education and increased community awareness is an important aspect in our region’s ability to reduce the spread of fruit fly and protect its multi-million dollar horticulture industry.

“By increasing community knowledge about control and management options we are able to reduce the impact of fruit fly on growers and the region. Our goal is to keep fruit fly hotspots or problem areas to a minimum through a combination of education focused activities and coordinated control measures,” she said.

These include deploying field officers to target hotspots and educate landholders on how to reduce and eliminate fruit fly with an emphasis on reducing all unmanaged and unwanted host trees. The education focus will also continue to target schools, volunteer groups and home gardeners to build wider community collaboration.

Efforts to keep fruit fly hotspots to a minimum through population monitoring and the program’s regional trapping grid will continue with an increased focus on enhancing existing infrastructure and trapping systems as well as drawing on existing trapping material used by growers across the region.

Ms Aston said data from the program’s regional trapping grid indicates Qfly make the migration from urban areas of the Goulburn Murray Valley where high numbers are typically recorded through summer out to peri-urban and rural locations of the Goulburn Murray Valley from February.

“This migration pattern is influenced by the fact fruiting plants are generally finished in urban areas by late summer as fruit is harvested, eaten by birds or deteriorate and fall off due to hot, dry weather. As a result, Qfly populations generally decline during January and February in urban areas of the Goulburn Murray Valley and begin to increase in peri-urban and rural locations.

“It has been identified through trapping data that fruit fly populations explode as the weather changes going into the summer season. This year the Goulburn Murray Valley region has had a delay to the onset of the annual peak temperatures which delayed summer fruit fly peaks. It is imperative that home gardeners and urban property owners look for signs of Qfly and take action as this impacts growers in the region.”

The Goulburn Murray Valley Queensland Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Program has been successful in curbing Qfly numbers across the region through the application of its area wide management model, together with a strong focus on education and engagement since the project’s inception in 2017.

For more information about the program, visit the fruit fly control website or find the program on Facebook.

Categories Fruit Fly

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