Penny Grose, who is from Rosanna and co-convenor of Transition Warringal, shares some information about Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF).
Early in 2019, I learned of cases of Queensland Fruit Fly in Brunswick West and Viewbank, so became more interested in the topic.
I recently learned more about preventing and managing it at an ORICoop workshop (ORICoop is a new cooperative working to support organic and regenerative farming across Australia through farm management and investment in organic farms.)
At the workshop, I learned that QFF has spread across a significant area of Victoria, especially in home gardens, as a result of lack of awareness, partly due to de-funding of public services in recent decades. A few years ago, there was an increase in cases in the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area, which has been managed. I gather that it’s currently throughout Wodonga, Shepparton, Bendigo and Seymour. There was a case in the (upper) Yarra Valley that has been managed and engagement with home gardeners is continuing there. The QFF Regional Coordinator in the (upper) Yarra Valley, who co-presented the workshop, is Bronwyn Koll. You can contact Bronwyn by email.
There is currently government funding ($5,000 grants) for QFF community education in Victorian municipalities, except the Melbourne metropolitan ones. Communities are presenting workshops, creating videos and bulk buying traps, bait and netting to supply at cost to home gardeners.
The take home message was that every home grower of fruit trees (as well as susceptible veggie fruits like tomatoes) should watch out for it, use monitoring traps and be ready to manage it with traps, baiting and exclusion (netting).
We should avoid transporting fruit between regions. We should be wary of sharing home grown fruit unless we are sure the grower is actively monitoring and managing the risk. (How sad that sharing is being discouraged!)
QFF can travel kilometres under their own steam. Insects are also carried on the wind.
There are lots of trap and bait types. An organic bait is EcoNaturalure (active ingredient spinosad, an insecticide extracted from bacteria).
All fruit trees should be pruned to convenient harvesting height to ensure that every piece of fruit is harvested, to eat or destroy as appropriate. All fallen fruit should be collected.
Any affected fruit should be boiled or frozen to kill eggs and larvae.
Much of the Agriculture Victoria information is a bit dense, so not very helpful to the home grower. More accessible information resources are the regional home gardener education materials, for example: Great Sunraysia Pest Free Area and Fruit Fly Yarra Valley.
I read the Grow Great Fruit newsletter from the farm formerly known as Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens. They provided the links below:
- Mount Alexander Council’s Fruit Fly video series.
- Agriculture Victoria’s Managing Fruit Fly in the Home Garden.
- A e-book: What’s Bugging My Fruit.
- Mount Alexander Fruit Fly Facebook Group.
- Bendigo Region Fruit Fly Facebook Group.
- The Victorian Government’s Fruit Fly surveillance outbreak monitoring.
- The Australian Handbook for the Identification of Fruit Flies. This is a fairly high-level document published by Plant Health Australia that is a compilation of diagnostic information for 65 fruit fly species.
- The Harcourt Valley Fruit Fly Regional Action Plan.
- The Harcourt Valley QFF Emergency Outbreak Plan.