Trapping is a method that you can use to monitor for fruit fly activity in your home garden. Although trapping can also be used to help reduce fruit fly numbers, it is generally not recommended as a control method alone. This is because trapping only captures some of the adult flies, while others around can still enter your garden and infest your crop.
Traps are devices that use an attractant to draw adult fruit flies into a container. Attractants can be pheromones, food scents or visual cues. Once captured, the trapped flies are either unable to escape, killed by an insecticide, or drowned in a liquid.
- Helps you determine whether fruit flies are present in your garden.
- Alerts you to the start of the fruit fly season and the need to start control.
- Useful for evaluating the impact of your cover spray or baiting program.
- Relatively easy to use and maintain.
- Relatively low cost with the option of buying or making your own.
- Depending on the trap, some only target fruit flies and not beneficial insects.
- May help reduce adult fly numbers and crop damage if a many traps are used.
What makes it right for you?
Fruit fly trapping will be suited to you if you:
- Are trying to determine the presence of fruit fly in your home garden.
- Live in an area prone to fruit fly attack and want to gauge the effectiveness of your cover.
- Spray or baiting programs in your garden.
- Are physically able and willing to place and maintain traps in or around trees.
- Live in a relatively isolated, low fruit fly pressure area and want to use traps as primarily a control method.
Factors affecting success
- Correct interpretation of trap catches in relation to control needs.
- Usage of the right type of trap for the fruit fly species present in your are.a
- Proper placement, monitoring and maintenance of traps in your trees and garden.
- For control purposes using traps, the length of time you trap, the number of traps you use, and the proximity of other sources of fruit fly infestations around your property.
- If you live in South Australia, do not use fruit fly traps unless authorised by your local department of agriculture or primary industries.
- Traps need to be placed out of the reach of children as some may contain toxins.
- Traps need to be diligently maintained to remain effective.
- Some traps require placement in trees up to 1.5-2 metres above the ground.
- Effectiveness of traps varies depending on attractant used, colour and shape.
- Many traps are required to significantly reduce fruit fly numbers and crop damage.
- Some traps only capture either male or female adult fruit flies.
- Traps in the home garden may not be effective where fertilised female fruit flies can still find a way into your garden from neighbouring properties.
- Trapping as a control method used on a large scale and in large quantities, can hold down population growth early in the season.
When to do it
Generally, you should start fruit fly trapping by late winter or as early as possible in the growing season. This will improve your chances of detecting fly activity and suppress fly numbers. Traps can also be used all year round, including winter, to help suppress fly numbers.