Damage

Damage caused by fruit flies
affected fruit-400x300

An apricot affected by fruit fly, showing the larvae and damage done to fruit

Fruit fly larvae (maggots) can cause your fruit and vegetables to turn into a soft, mushy mess. Adult female fruit flies lay eggs in the flesh of ripening and ripe fruits and vegetables. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae begin to feed within the fruit, causing it to ripen prematurely, rot and drop to the ground. This damage can make your fruit inedible.

Which crops are attacked by fruit fly?

In Australia, fruit flies are a serious pest to home gardeners and fruit production industries alike.

Fruit flies attack and damage most kinds of summer fruits and some vegetables, as well as some ornamental and native plants. The hosts can vary from state to state.

Summer fruits attacked by fruit fly include peaches, plums, nectarines, apples, pears and citrus. Vegetables attacked by fruit fly include tomato (a fruit), capsicum and eggplant. If uncontrolled, fruit flies can damage up to 100 per cent of some fruit crops.

Full list of fruit and vegetables attacked by Mediterranean and Queensland Fruit Fly

How do fruit flies impact on the home gardener?

  • Growing crops prone to fruit fly attack requires that you control the pest on an ongoing basis, costing you in terms of time, money and effort
  • Trying out different ways to control fruit flies can be frustrating and cause inconvenience, particularly if the result is not satisfactory
  • Suffering heavy losses to fruit fly damage can be very disappointing for you when it occurs
  • The presence of fruit flies in your area limits the range of crops that you can grow in your garden without using fruit fly control methods
  • Crop damage caused by fruit flies can limit the quantity and quality of fruit and vegetables that you would like to share with family and friends
  • May restrict your movement of fruit and vegetables in some parts of Australia.

How do fruit flies impact on fruit production industries?

Fruit fly outbreaks can:

  • cause hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost income and eradication costs and management to the fruit production industries
  • exclude fresh produce from valuable interstate and overseas markets, leading to fewer jobs and less income for affected regions
  • cause an increase in plant produce prices and even limit produce availability.
Fruit flies on fruit

Adult flies on fruit

Your responsibilities

If you grow fruit and vegetables in your home garden that are prone to fruit fly attack, you are responsible for ensuring that the pest is controlled. If you are unable or unwilling to control fruit fly, consider having your fruit and vegetables removed and replaced with alternative plants, such as non-fruiting ornamentals. Note that fruit fly control is compulsory in most Australian states and territories.

Species

Learn more about the species of fruit flies that can cause havoc in the home garden.

More

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