Cropping

Video fights pest

By Country News

Home gardeners are being encouraged to learn more about how they can help keep Queensland fruit fly under control.

Agriculture Victoria has released a new online video, which will help people monitor their gardens for Queensland fruit fly and keep it under control before it takes over their backyards.

Agriculture Victoria’s statewide fruit fly co-ordinator Cathy Mansfield said although lots of work was taking place across Victoria to tackle Queensland fruit fly, there was always more to be done.

‘‘This video, Queensland Fruit Fly In Your Garden, has been developed to answer one of our most commonly asked questions — how to identify this specific pest in gardens and avoid controlling beneficial flies,’’ Ms Mansfield said.

‘‘By understanding the life cycle of Queensland fruit fly and how it behaves, Victorians will have a better chance of controlling it in gardens so that they can enjoy their home-grown fruit and vegetables.

‘‘With Queensland fruit fly now in most parts of Victoria, it’s important that everyone understands they have an important role to play to keep numbers down.’’

Queensland fruit flies become more active as the weather warms up and will target ripening fruit and vegetables including stonefruit, tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants and citrus.

Home gardeners can monitor for fruit fly using traps and by inspecting fruit and vegetables for sting marks, rot and maggots, which may be hidden inside.

‘‘Other tips for managing Queensland fruit fly in home gardens include netting host plants, removing unwanted fruiting trees and plants, picking up and disposing of unwanted and fallen fruit and applying baits and cover sprays,’’ Ms Mansfield said.

‘‘Working together to control Queensland fruit fly not only protects home-grown produce, it also reduces their numbers in towns — and this has a flow on effect to protect Victoria’s multi-million-dollar horticultural industries.’’

Queensland fruit fly attacks and damages a wide range of fruit and vegetables, and is recognised as a serious pest.

When fruit is attacked it is inedible, meaning fruit fly outbreaks limit production for growers and result in reduced income through lost trade opportunities.

While Queensland fruit fly is native to eastern Queensland and north-east NSW, the prevalence of hosts in Victoria and NSW has expanded the area in which it is found.

Queensland fruit fly activity generally increases in spring as the weather becomes warmer, however, is not restricted to a particular season.

To watch the video and find out more about Queensland fruit fly, visit: agriculture.vic.gov.au/qff or phone the Customer Service Centre on 136186.