Tips for growers
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Queensland fruit fly management is a 'year round' activity for all fruit and vegetable growers.
Further information to support growers in managing for fruit fly can be found here:
Growers don’t have to have Queensland fruit fly on their property to cost them money. The mere presence of Qfly in the region means our farmers have to apply additional control on-ground and meet post-harvest requirements to satisfy buyers in overseas and maintain market access.
Control strategies for growers need to be applied early and continuously after fruit set. In the greater Sunraysia region, flies become sexually active around mid-August as the weather warms up. Flies that have survived the winter can mate when the temperature at sunset reach 15°C, and then are able to lay hundreds of eggs. Things to remember:
• Once Qfly eggs have been laid in your fruit it is too late to start control
• Be organised, have a plan, purchase your supplies and monitor early
For the highest level of control, all the following methods should be practiced on your property. There is not a one size fits all approach with Qfly control. Speak with a trained professional to design a unique control plan for your property.
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1. Farm hygiene and sanitation
Keeping your fruit growing area clean and tidy helps to break the life cycle of the Qfly.
Consider the following:
Remove (or treat) all unwanted fruit left after harvest.
Mulch any removed or fallen fruit using a commercial mulcher or tractor. Mulched fruit is unable to support fruit flies through their lifecycle.
Deep burial of any waste or fallen fruit will also interrupt the lifecycle.
Removing trees that are not being actively managed for Qfly.
Keep an eye on ripening fruit for signs of Qfly. All suspect fruit should be disposed of immediately and correctly.
Monitoring for presence (or absence) of Qfly is now an essential component of your pest management program.
Monitoring lets you know when fruit fly populations are building up, and therefore when to start baiting. Monitoring also shows you whether treatment has been effective.
Many brands of traps are available. They all contain an attractant and either a small dose of pesticide or a liquid in which the fly drowns.
Set monitoring traps out by mid-August
Place a trap every 400m across the orchard
Follow label instructions about trap recharging and replacement
Check traps weekly for fruit fly. Check fruit for sting marks or larval damage
If you employ a scout, add fruit fly monitoring to their duties
If flies are found in traps or in fruit, start baiting or, if necessary, apply a cover spray (following label instructions).
Bait spraying is the most reliable and integrated pest management friendly way to reduce Queensland fruit fly numbers in a vineyard or orchard.
By suppressing the population in your vineyard you also help suppress numbers across the whole district.
In regions where fruit fly are established it is recommended to commence routine bait spraying in spring; traps should be monitored to detect spikes in populations.
For specific information regarding bait spraying for Qfly in stone fruit, citrus and table grapes information sheets are available. Updated May 2020.
4. Disrupt mating using male annihilation technique
Disrupt mating by using the male annihilation technique (MAT) which combines a parapheromone to attract the male flies and an insecticide which kills them upon contact. If used in conjunction with other control methods, MAT has a huge influence on Qfy numbers on your property.
Male annihilation technique are effective from approximately 100-200 metres and should be replaced every 3 months (follow directions on label).
Depending on the size of your property and the product will determine how many MAT's you put out.
Male annihilation technique can be purchased online or at your local Ag store.
5. Cover spraying
If fruit has sting marks, or numbers of flies in traps increase, a cover spray may be warranted. Follow the product label Directions for Use. Please check with your agronomist and/or your local Ag store for further details.
Photos supplied Alison MacGregor .