Fruit fly ravages local crop

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Prevention and control are the best ways to manage outbreaks of fruit fly in Broken Hill.

Gardeners are reminded to take all measures to reduce contamination, as cases begin to spring up.

Local resident, Diana Ferry, said she felt “profound disappointment” when she realised her backyard crop was infested by fruit fly a fortnight ago.

“I realised ninety-five percent (of my fruit) was infected,” she said. “I put a lot of time, effort and money into these trees.

“To see the entire crop infested was disappointing – it is such a waste of food.”

The Queensland Fruit Fly has once again destroyed more orchards in town as harvest nears.

“I’m expecting to lose all my fruit,” Ms Ferry said. “It will be about two wheelie bins full of inedible and unsalvageable fruit.”

She planted up to 100 trees that produced variety of fruit like apricots, nectarines, peaches, apples, pears, plums, figs and peacherines.

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The 12 traps around her garden are in place to help curb the rate and stop additional damage.

Western Local Land Services (WLLS) explained that the warmer weather and increased humidity in the air has created the desired atmosphere for the pest insect.

Senior Land Services Officer, Luke Stacey, said the WLLS has already received a few alerts from Broken Hill and expects it to ramp up again this year.

“We had many last year,” he said. “As the season goes on, then those phone calls will increase.”

Mr Stacey encouraged growers to implement all year-round management to avoid infestation.

“Prevention like most things is better than care,” he said. “If you are not going to look after fruit trees then take them out.”

He suggested covering fruit with nets, setting out traps (homemade or purchased) and placing bait.

Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (GSPFA) support any measures that help bolster protection.

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GSPFA regional coordinator, Narelle Beattie, urged home gardeners and commercial growers to stay vigilant and manage crop until harvest.

“You need to manage it for the whole of the season,” she said. “They (fruit fly) are less active in winter, but they are still around.”

She explained its best practice to complete routine checks and cast nets about six to eight weeks before harvest.

The GSPFA work to control Queensland Fruit Fly across six local government areas that include Wentworth, Balranald and Mildura.

Mrs Beattie said proper disposal of infected fruit is vital to eliminate potential breeding.

“If they do have infested fruit, they should strip trees and pick up any fruit from the ground,” she said.

“Bag them and put it in the sun for seven to ten days to kill the larvae (maggots).”

In the fight against infestation, experts believe a whole community response is needed.

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“We do find that not everyone takes measures to try and control fruit fly,” Mr Stacey said. “Really the whole community need to work together.”

For more information or resources, visit www.pestfreearea.com.au.

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