In Queensland, Dan Papacek of integrated pest management (IPM) business Bugs for Bugs said the risk of complacency was his main concern in the Wide Bay-Burnett region.
“The only time we get the occasional hiccup is almost always if someone takes their eye off the ball,” he said.
“We’re using a systems approach and also trying to manage the fruit fly populations in the townships of Gayndah and Mundubbera.
“If growers start early, they’re religious with their applications of protein baits and they use their male annihilation technique cups – the MATs – they almost universally get very, very good fruit fly control and we very rarely have a breakdown.”
Mr Papacek said the program had been so effective in fact that growers might be tempted to think fruit fly was no-longer a particularly serious threat.
“That’s something we desperately don’t want: the only reason we’re getting good control is that everyone’s doing the right thing.”
He said lemons ripening pre-Christmas could be susceptible to fruit fly strike and Imperials and navels would be vulnerable early in the new year.
He said regular use of protein bait was essential, coupled with the deployment of MAT cups in three sets at three-monthly intervals in spring-autumn.
Mr Papacek said he encouraged all growers to discuss fruit fly with their local IPM consultant.
Similar area-wide management programs based on bait-spraying and mass trapping are being used in Western Australia against the endemic Medfly.
In far northern Victoria, members of the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (GSPFA) committee are venturing well beyond their own farm gates and out into their communities in an effort to combat Qfly.
On the final weekend of September, the GSPFA committee launched the biggest Qfly trapping exercise ever attempted, teaming up with householders in eight centre in a two-week collaborative eradication campaign.
From its base in Mildura the committee distributed 17,700 Qfly trap kits to residents of not only Mildura but also neighbouring Irymple, Red Cliffs, Merbein, Nichols Point, Buronga, Gol Gol and Dareton.
“There was huge interest and we had groups from 19 organisations knocking on people’s doors,” GSPFA CEO John Tesoriero said.
We know from a trial and program in Swan Hill that strong community co-operation can achieve impressive results in reducing fruit fly numbers.
Describing Qfly as a ‘community problem’ Mr Tesoriero said, “many of our towns and urban areas in the pest-free area now have microclimates that are conducive to the flies’ breeding and survival”.
The Sunraysia rollout across three shires was funded by the Victorian Government.
Reproduced with permission from Australian Citrus News