Seasonal advice

Advice for gardeners about controlling fruit fly in Australia

Queensland fruit fly 3Seasonal advice on the control of fruit fly in the home garden for each season of the year in temperate regions of Australia is provided below.

Note that Australia is a very large continent with different climatic conditions from one area to another, all of which have an influence on fruit fly activity and crop growth. The months referred to here are a guide only.

What fruit flies are doing each season

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Fruit fly populations tend to increase in spring (September to November) as temperatures increase and suitable hosts become available. In early spring, overwintering adult flies become active and female flies lay eggs in suitably mature fruit. Larvae develop in these fruit and from then onwards the fruit fly population builds up as successions of suitable fruit become available for infestation. If control is not started at this time, fruit fly populations will increase to cause problems later in spring.

Fruit flies are usually most active in summer (December to February). At this time of year adult flies are feeding, breeding, searching for suitable hosts, and laying eggs in suitable host crops. When flies are not doing these things, they are resting in shady plants. If unabated, eggs and larvae develop in fruit and vegetables. And larvae emerge from fallen fruit to pupate in ground (and will later emerge from the ground as adults).

Fruit flies can still be active in autumn (March to May), particularly if there are available hosts around. At this time of year, fruit fly populations may decrease and the development cycle of fruit flies slows.

Fruit flies are usually inactive in winter (June to August). Fruit fly can overwinter as either adult flies in sheltered locations, as eggs or larvae in fruit, or as pupae in the ground. Adult flies may become active in warmer periods of winter (above 12 degrees Celsius for Mediterranean fruit fly).

Suggested control actions to take by season

The table below provides fruit fly control methods for particular seasons of the year. Note that some control methods may need to be implemented for more than one season, depending on crop growth and fruiting, and fly numbers. Also note that some control methods such as host plant removal and trapping can be undertaken any time of the year.

Control strategy Flowering stage Fruit formation Harvest Vegetative growth
Exclusion
Cover spraying
Baiting
Host removal
Prevention

Suggested control actions to take by plant growth stage

The table below provides fruit fly control methods that you can take during the stages of plant growth during the year.

Control strategy Flowering stage Fruit formation Harvest Vegetative growth End of season
Exclusion
Cover spraying
Baiting
Host removal
Prevention

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