Within Australia there are over 250 species that belong to the family Tephritidae, which includes the pest fruit flies. Almost all of these species are non-pests, but there are two species that are the focus of ongoing pest management programs. The first of these species, the Queensland fruit fly, occurs in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and is an Australian native species. The other pest species, Mediterranean fruit fly, occurs only in parts of Western Australia and is an introduced species.
While these are different species, similar control methods and strategies are relevant to both.
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.