To minimise the chance of catching any fruit flies apply bait sprays and male annihilation technology early.
Bait spraying is done weekly to attract and kill male and female fruit flies. The bait contains a protein attractant that is laced with insecticide. It is applied using a jet stream nozzle aimed at the trunk or foliage of the tree on every second row. Growers often set up their all terrain vehicles for this purpose as the jet stream means only low water volumes are needed and application over an orchard is very fast.
Male Annihilation Technology (MAT) must be used in conjunction with bait spraying but requires less frequent application. MAT products are pheromone based so they attract males to a small credit card-sized pad containing insecticide. AmuletCL® is one of several such lure/toxicant products that is available and is commonly recommended at 16 pads per hectare and it lasts about 3 months before needing replacement.
In theory, on an isolated orchard the recommended application of 6-8 weeks before maturity of baiting and MAT would be mostly fine. However, most orchards have a mixture of other earlier varieties and maybe close to a township where there may be no fruit fly management. Therefore, external factors regarding what is happening around the area need to be taken into consideration. If in doubt, a good general start date would be between 1 September and 1 October of each year.