Growers expecting severe fruit fly season

Fruit Fly April 3, 2021

Growers are bracing for a terrible fruit fly season following recent rains.

Cobram and District Growers Association president Tony Siciliano said an alarming rise in fruit fly activity had been triggered by the lingering effects of the La Niña weather event and the fruit picker shortage.

“There is no doubt that Qfly (Queensland fruit fly) will be a major problem for Victorian growers along with growers in southern NSW and South Australia in the upcoming year,” Mr Siciliano said.

 “We are very much aware and bracing for that.”

Cobram and District Fruit Growers Association general manager Karen Abberfield said conditions over the 2020-21 season were ideal for fruit fly survival and spread.

“We are currently faced with the situation where we have a large volume of ripe, unharvested fruit left hanging on trees and large volumes of fruit will have fallen to the ground or been dumped after culling in the pack house,” Ms Abberfield said.

“Much of this fruit will remain there, untreated and likely to be struck by the higher-than-normal Qfly population on-site at present.”

More warm autumn evenings will allow the pest to mate and produce eggs further into the season than usual, giving rise to more infestations.

Apples, apricots, citrus and cumquat are all on high fruit fly alert this year alongside stone fruit, raspberries and tomatoes.

Fruit flies will begin seeking out winter refuge as the days cool, before building numbers back up as spring begins.

Local growers and backyard gardeners are advised to hit the flies while they are weakening and eradicate breeding sites.

Any ripening fruit which unexpectedly drops should be treated as if it has fruit fly eggs and maggots instead, so dispose of it before maggots have a chance to burrow into the ground and pupate.

Source: Riverine Herald

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