Fruit Fly Update: What we can do

Fruit Fly Update: What we can do

Fruit fly is one of the world’s most destructive pests and it poses a significant risk to our state’s $1.3Β billion horticultural industry. The risk has existed since 1947 when fruit fly was first detected in South Australia. Since then, our state has worked hard to eradicate any fruit fly outbreaks from establishing permanently in this state and we continue to do so as we understand the competitive advantages and the flow-on financial benefits that our growers, local businesses and the state’s economy receive because of South Australia’s fruit fly free status.

The Marshall Liberal government is utilising every resource available to it to eradicate the current outbreaks. PIRSA has implemented a program that includes inspecting fruit trees, organic baiting, releasing sterile flies and establishing suspension zones around detections. Suspension zones impose restrictions on fruit movement which can be an inconvenience and a challenge for the community. However, restricting fruit movement is critical, as it is an effective method of preventing fruit fly from being unintentionally transported across the neighbourhood or to an unaffected part of the state.

If you live in an outbreak or a suspension zone, we are asking people not to share or move any homegrown fruit or fruiting vegetables from your property. I encourage all South Australians to visit the PIRSA website and learn whether your residence is in an outbreak or suspension zone and the restrictions that may apply.

Releasing sterile flies, known as SITs, is one of the tools PIRSA is using to target wild flies in the outbreak zones. Last week, I attended the release of more than 2.5 million sterile fruit flies in the Riverland. The release was part of a greater six-part program, where 3.5 million flies will be released per week. In metropolitan Adelaide, almost 100 million sterile flies were released across 250 suburbs last year. SITs are a proven technology and an important tool in the government’s fight against fruit fly, as it interrupts the life cycle of the wild flies.

We are now calling on the community to join the fight against fruit fly. We are seeking the community’s cooperation by asking residents living throughout the Riverland and in outbreak and suspension zones in Adelaide to strip their backyards of homegrown fruit and fruiting vegetables. The large majority of current outbreaks have been detected in residential backyard fruit trees; therefore, this measure aims to remove the host material where fruit flies breed. With the community’s cooperation, the number of breeding locations for fruit fly will be significantly reduced, enhancing the effectiveness of PIRSA’s baiting and SIT programs.

When stripping your backyard trees of fruit or fruiting vegetables, please also ensure that there is nothing left lying on the ground, as fruit fly commonly breed in rotting produce. Once your backyard has been stripped, you can either cook, eat or preserve your fruit or fruiting vegetables. Excess produce must be disposed of correctly. If you live in town and have available a green organic bin, you can safely dispose of excess homegrown fruit and fruiting vegetables in this bin.

For those who live in an outbreak zone out of town and do not have access to a green bin, please put your excess homegrown fruit and fruiting vegetables in an airtight sealed plastic bag and phone the PIRSA fruit fly hotline for pick-up. For those who live in a suspension zone out of town and do not have access to a green bin, please put your excess homegrown fruit and fruiting vegetables in an airtight sealed plastic bag and freeze the bag before then disposing of it in your general waste.

If you find maggots in the process of stripping your backyard trees, please immediately place the affected produce in an airtight plastic bag and ring the 24/7 fruit fly hotline on 1300 666 010. The fruit fly outbreaks are having a real effect on people’s lives. Many South Australian growers who are currently in an outbreak or suspension zone face a challenging harvest with significantly increased costs. To overcome these fruit fly outbreaks, South Australian growers need our support.

We can all play a part in the fight against fruit fly by stripping our backyards of fruit and fruiting vegetables and following PIRSA’s instructions in regard to fruit movement. Together, as a community, we can eradicate the fruit fly outbreaks and ensure that our growers continue to enjoy the premium market advantage of being a fruit fly free state for decades to come.


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