Horticulture

Keep up the fruit fly fight

By Country News

Recent cool weather has brought relief for Queensland fruit fly control across the Goulburn Murray region, according to Goulburn Murray Valley regional fruit fly co-ordinator Ross Abberfield.

He said the current cold snap had already seen a reduction in fruit fly numbers.

‘‘Most immature fruit flies will die during winter due to the significant drop in temperature and many adult flies will die in the coming months, however there will be some adults that will in fact survive the winter, which is called over-wintering,’’ Mr Abberfield said.

‘‘These flies are typically newly-bred flies from late-ripening fruit that have found themselves in localised warm spots, allowing for their survival over winter.’’

It is the over-wintering fruit fly population that will be the cause of next season’s fruit fly problems.

Despite the drop in numbers, protein-based traps and baits are still effective and should be used as they allow for detection of over-wintering fruit flies, Mr Abberfield said.

He said traps should be placed in the morning sun, high in the canopy of evergreen trees in the warmest position in the yard.

‘‘Lemon trees are particularly favoured by Queensland fruit fly to over-winter in and should be carefully monitored.

‘‘Home gardeners and orchardists should apply fruit fly baits to control flies and help stop flies surviving the winter and building up into damaging populations in spring.

‘‘As winter approaches, eggs, larvae and pupae are unlikely to survive winter, but it is still advisable to pick up fallen fruit and harvest late fruit.

‘‘Fallen fruit should not be thrown onto the compost heap as fruit flies can survive there. It is best to cook, freeze, mulch or solarise this fruit.’’