Non-preferred hosts

Growing non-preferred hosts in the home garden is an alternative to growing plants that are prone to fruit fly attack. Non-preferred host fruits and vegetables are those plants that are less attractive to fruit flies. The extent to which non-preferred hosts are prone to fruit fly attack depends on many factors. These factors include: fly species; fruit variety, damage and stage of fruit ripeness; and availability of other more suitable hosts.

Benefits

  • Potentially more produce saved from loss to fruit fly attack.
  • Reduced or no effort required to control fruit flies in your garden.
  • Cost savings by reduced need to control fruit flies.
  • What makes it right for you?

What makes it right for you

Growing non-preferred host fruits for fruit fly will be right for you if you:

  • live in or near a fruit fly prone area.
  • own your own home (renters may be able to plant smaller crop plants).
  • are unable or unwilling to control fruit fly in your home garden.
  • still want to grow your own produce but do not want to have to deal with fruit fly.
  • are considering the removal of plants from your garden that are prone to fruit fly attack.

Factors affecting success

  • Selection of plant varieties that are suited to your locality, climate, soil etc.
  • Resistance level of the plant variety to fruit fly attack (may need to control fruit flies).
  • Availability of other, preferred hosts for fruit flies around your garden.

Considerations

  • The level of fruit fly infestation in your area and nearby areas.
  • Non-preferred hosts that are suited to and do well in your area.
  • Whether there are other serious pests of non-preferred host plants that will need to be managed.

What to do

When selecting non-preferred host plants for your home garden, you should generally try to choose varieties with thicker or tougher skin. This can help prevent fruit fly from being able to sting and infest produce. Your local garden centre should be able to help you find the right plant for you. You can also get advice about which varieties to plant from books and the web.

Here are some of the plants that are not highly preferred by fruit fly.

Medium risk fruit fly host fruit and veg

Low risk fruit fly host fruit and veg

  • Avocado (try thicker skinned varieties such as Sharwil and Haas)
  • Blackberry
  • Button squash
  • Capsicum (possibly major host)
  • Cashew apple
  • Cherry
  • Chilli (possibly major host)
  • Cucumber
  • Custard apple (winter ripening varieties are best)
  • Date
  • Eggplant
  • Feijoa
  • Grapefruit
  • Jujube
  • Longan and lychee
  • Madarin (possibly considered major host)
  • Mulberry
  • Orange
  • Passionfruit (possibly major host)
  • Pawpaw (when ripe is possibly major host)
  • Persimmon (varieties such as Fuyu are susceptible)
  • Pomegranite
  • Pumello
  • Pumpkin
  • Quince
  • Rockmelon Rollinia
  • Sapodilla
  • Strawberry
  • Soursop
  • Tamarillo
  • Tomato (when ripe is major host)
  • Walnut
  • Watermelon
  • Fig
  • Grapes (sometimes affected)
  • Lemon and lime (avoid thin-skinned varieties like Meyer lemon (lemons are resistant when green)
  • Monstera
  • Olive
  • Star apple (possibly major host)
  • Tangelo
  • Non hosts include:
  • Choko
  • Coffee
  • Jackfruit (if undamaged)
  • Longan
  • Mangosteen
  • Pineapple
  • Rambutan (if undamaged)
  • Other non-preferred hosts include:
  • Blueberry (is sometimes affected)
  • Bananas (resistant to attack when green, otherwise high risk)
  • Grumichama
  • Mango (some resistance to Mediterranean fruit fly, but prime Queensland fruit fly host)
  • Kiwi fruit*
  • Nashi Pears (sometimes affected)*
  • Mulberry (sometimes affected)*

Source: Adapted from Horticultural Policy Council (1991), The impact of fruit flies on Australian horticulture. HPC Industry Report No. 3, the Council

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