A single male Queensland fruit fly (QFF) has been found Silvan.
Agribusiness Yarra Valley QFF regional co-ordinator Bronwyn Koll said the discovery caused concern for commercial fruit and vegetable producers, and also residents with fruit and vegetables in their home gardens who have all been privileged to normally have fruit fly free production conditions.
QFF is an invasive insect pest that causes fruit to turn rotten internally when infested with QFF larvae.
“This pest is not welcome in the Yarra Valley – and community surveillance and action can help maintain a fruit fly free region,” Ms Koll said.
“The detection this summer is a reminder to us all that despite our history of being QFF-free, we are all required to remain vigilant if we are to help protect the Yarra Valley.”
She said produce grown in fruit fly free areas meant that growers could avoid chemical use, preserve the balance of beneficial insects in the production system, and avoid the expenses of having to apply fruit fly bait weekly or using netting.
Fruit fly netting is an insect mesh that requires a structure built to hold the net up.
Ms Koll said gardeners in northern Victoria had to install insect netting over their gardens after flowering time to allow pollination, to then protect the developing and ripening fruit from fruit fly damage.
Northern Victorians are regularly trapping and baiting for QFF and some also have to permanently remove host plants.
“This can all be avoided in the Yarra Valley if we take extremely good care of our fruit production in home gardens and commercial fruit growing areas right now,” Ms Koll said.
“Action needs to be taken to prevent any Queensland Fruit Fly populations establishing in the Yarra Valley.”
Picking ripe fruit and vegetables before they fall to the ground is a simple and effective preventative action, along with cleaning up any dropped fruit.
Traps can be hung in trees to help monitor for any fruit fly activity.
“Yarra Valley residents can help by ensuring they don’t bring QFF infested fruit and vegetables into the Yarra Valley,” Ms Koll said.
They can also make a fruit fly trap and hang it in the garden or buy commercially available traps online or from garden supply stores.
Ms Koll said it was important to report suspect infested fruit to her on 0490 381 999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found at www.fruitflyfreeyv.com.au.