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Published on : Mar 03, 2014

Queensland Fruit fly (QFF) is considered to be one of Australia’s intensely serious insect pests affecting the horticultural industry in the Central Tablelands and beyond. 

The Central Tablelands Local Land Services are knee-deep into testing a QFF monitoring program associated with the horticulturists in the Orange area. The authorities of this organization are open to feedbacks from growers and horticultural producers on whether the services they are offering is useful to the industry and should continue with it.  

The DPI researchers monitored about nine neglected fruit trees for more than a month and found over 120,000 flies hatching on the productions. It is observed that when conditions are right, there is an enormous QFF multiplication at an extraordinary rate. 

The observation is based on the QFFs being females having the capabilities of laying 2000 eggs each, and in the consecutive month the population would be 12 million. 

Many people are highly disappointed with their fruits and vegetations being rotten with maggots. This infection does not take a long for an outbreak to cause severe health problems for fruits and vegetables producers as they face a great loss of fruits and rejection by domestic as well as international export markets.

Ideally the cold winters have acted as a natural barrier to the rising QFF becoming firmly established and entrenched in the parts of Australia. However, when the winters fade and get milder and as more travelers bring in fresh fruits and vegetables from the coast, the threat of infection increases subsequently.  

In this case, prevention is the cheapest and the most-effective strategy to avert QFF, because abandoned and neglected fruit trees are a constant concern of outbreak. 

To avoid QFFs affecting the cultivation it is recommended that extreme sanitation conditions are maintained around places where fruits and vegetables grow and cultivate. If fallen or infected fruits or vegetables are found in the fruit orchards or vegetable gardens, it should be regularly picked up so that they do not breed flies or come into contact with other good fruits and ruin them.

Some other methods of avoiding spreading of infection are to eradicate the neglected and unwanted fruit trees from the premises. The gardeners are also advised to grow dwarf-sized varieties of fruit tress so that they are easily manageable and removable in such times. 

According to the studies conducted by the organization, the yellow QFF traps are often witnessed in orchards. They are used to indicate that flies are present in the vegetation but have no control on entire populations. So, if fruit flies are found in the traps, the immediate recommended step is to call for a proactive control with bait sprays. 

Commercial home gardeners can purchase ready-made bait mixture from garden nurseries, whereas, an orchardist can apply and purchase baits from an ATV travelling at 12-20 km/hr. The bait mixture is made up of attractive protein source and an insecticide solution. These sprays are specifically designed to terminate all the females even before they lay eggs. Hence, baits should be applied in a weekly manner and particularly after a rainfall event has occurred in the region. 

Typically, the use of baits is applied as a spot spray to the mid and lower foliage, and the upper trunk of a tree. This nearly covers a minimum area of nearly 10cm2. Nevertheless, the use of this spray mustn’t be onto the fruits or vegetables. 

The effects of the spray would be seen on the flies very quickly as they are attracted to the protein faster for egg mutation and as they feed they will be killed by the solution. 

Bait spraying is the safest technique to control fruit flies, but however requires extra common sense and care to be implemented. Any sort of pesticides should be taken particular care when mixing, transporting, and applying bait material. 

The MAT blocks also kill the male QFF. These blocks are soaked in a pheromone to attract the males and when they settle on the block, the bait solution kills the adult fly.