Managing fruit flies in commercial settings is not only about minimising damage, but needs to also be mindful of finding economically viable options, integrating these management practices for others pests, and maintaining pathways to trade, whether local, domestic, or international. The other challenge is that a wide range of crops in a production area, unmanaged or abandoned orchards, and urban encroachment can provide alternative habitats for fruit fly populations to breed up on and may be beyond the influence of horticultural producers.
Given the the diversity in climates, production areas and fruit fly pressures across Australia, the best fruit fly management advice is likely to come from local pest monitoring and advisory services, rural chemical suppliers, and other growers in your region. The following fruit fly management information is provided to supplement those sources and provide more information on recent developments.
NOTE: South Australia and Tasmania are free from all economic fruit flies and control measures are not necessary in the states. However, good on-farm biosecurity practices will reduce the risk of fruit fly invasion. If you suspect you have fruit flies or have observed maggots in fruit, whether locally grown or imported please contact state authorities (SA – Fruit Fly Hotline: 1300 666 010, Tasmania – Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881)
The changing fruit fly challenge in commercial areas
Over the past decade there have been two significant changes impacting fruit fly management in commercial settings. The first of these has been the southward spread of Queensland fruit fly into southern New South Wales and Victoria. This has meant that areas previously experiencing only very low fruit fly pressures, or being free from this pest are now having to manage fruit flies for the first time. The second significant impact, and one of the drivers developing the National Fruit Fly Strategy, has been the deregistration of a number of agricultural chemicals previously used for fruit fly control in some regions.
However, there has also been significant progress towards new pest management approaches and improvements to trading conditions. The changing fruit fly threat has also led to on-farm innovations to improve the understanding of how flies are behaving in specific areas and for a number of regionally based groups to take an increasingly proactive approach to managing fruit flies in local areas.
The take home message in the current environment is that effective fruit fly management requires a year-round effort and for pest management activities to consider and ideally include the area beyond the orchard.
Approaches to fruit fly management on-farm
Bait Sprays and Male Annihilation Technique
Crop Protection and Exclusion
Urban and Peri-urban Control
Sterile Insect Technique
Area Wide Management
Trading options for fruit fly susceptible commodities
Pest Free Areas
Post Harvest Treatment
Pest Free Period