Check your trees for fruit fly
Agriculture Minister, Joe Helper, has announced a new ‘strike team’ has been established for rapid defence against Queensland Fruit Fly this season.
Mr Helper said the specialised team from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) would operate in and around the Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone (FFEZ) zeroing in on high risk areas, inspecting host plants, removing fruit from trees and treating infested sites.
“This new initiative is part of the Bracks Government’s extensive control activities aimed at protecting the State’s $500 million horticulture industry from pests and diseases,” Mr Helper said.
“DPI’s proactive assault puts Victoria on the front foot against Queensland Fruit Fly in what is shaping up to be an active season.”
DPI Plant Standards Program Manager, Bill Ashcroft, said Fruit Fly had already been detected in a number of locations along the Murray River, including Mulwala and Rutherglen.
“A swift response to these Fruit Fly detections is vital to ensure these outbreaks are quickly eradicated and the likelihood of them spreading to other towns across north east Victoria is minimised,” Mr Ashcroft said.
Mr Helper said the Victorian and NSW Departments of Primary Industries were working cooperatively to manage Fruit Fly and are urging residents in towns on both sides of the border to routinely inspect their trees for signs of the pest.
“This involves inspecting backyard fruit trees for signs of Fruit Fly maggots and reporting any activity to the local DPI office or by calling 136 186,” he said.
“Residents should also collect all fallen and unwanted fruit, place it in a plastic bag, seal the top and then leave it in the sun for up to a week before disposing of it in their general rubbish.”
Information for residents is available in a new brochure ‘Fruit Fly - and the home garden’, which provides information and tips on how to manage backyard fruit trees and dispose of infested fruit.
DPI NSW program Manager Animal and Plant Regulatory Operations, Dr Andrew Sanger, said under a new Victoria/ NSW agreement, Plant Regulatory officers from both states were working to implement a range of detection and control activities in key locations including Barooga, Tocumwal, Mulwala, Howlong and Corowa.
“Ongoing cooperation is critical if we are to effectively manage Fruit Fly outbreaks within the FFEZ and develop overall management strategies to maintain and enhance trade opportunities” Mr Sanger said.