Fruit fly species
There are over 250 species of fruit fly in the family Tephritidae known to occur in Australia but only about ten are pests. Many of these species are native to Australia, while others are exotic to the country.
The two fruit fly species that are of major concern to home gardeners and commercial fruit growers alike are the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) and the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata). See below for more on these two species.
Note that control methods are similar for most fruit fly species in the family Tephritidae, including Queensland fruit fly and Mediterranean fruit fly.
Queensland fruit fly (Qfly)
- Larvae (maggots) are about 5-10mm long and creamy-white in colour.
- This species is native to north-eastern Australia.
- It occurs in parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. Sporadic incursions occasionally occur in Canberra during the warmer months of the year but it is unlikely that the pest would persist over the winter months.
- The pest has an extensive host range and includes many cultivated and wild plants.
- It is most active from September through to May but can also be active in warmer periods during the winter months.
Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly)
- Adult flies are about 3-5mm long, with a light brown body and mottled wings.
- Larvae (maggots) grow to about 8mm long and are white in colour.
- The species is restricted to Western Australia.
- It can infest a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
- It is most active from October through to May.