Sanitation is a method that you can use to help: prevent fruit fly egg and larvae (maggot) development in infested fruit; and deny female adult flies a suitable place for egg laying.
This method requires that you collect and destroy all fallen and unwanted fruit from the garden. The destruction of this fruit ensures that larvae do not survive to pupate in the ground, and later emerge as adult flies.
Sanitation is considered an essential practice since fruit trees with fallen and rotting fruit around the base are a major source of fruit fly infestations.
Mount Alexander Shire Council and the City of Greater Bendigo, in partnership with Agriculture Victoria, produced a series of educational videos on managing Queensland fruit fly. This episode covers sanitation.
- Helps prevent and break the fruit fly breeding cycle in your garden.
- Relatively cheap and easy to do.
- May help eliminate the sources of fruit fly infestations for neighbours and near-by fruit production areas.
What makes it right for you?
Sanitation will be right for you if you:
- Live in an area prone to fruit fly attack.
- Are physically able and willing to undertake the work while your crops are fruiting.
- Prefer to use low impact, organic approaches to fruit fly control.
- Grow a surplus of fruit that falls to the ground or is not harvested.
- Want to help prevent fruit fly from establishing in your garden in areas where it does not occur.
Factors affecting success
- Usage of sanitation in combination with other fruit fly control methods (note that if you live in an area that is free from fruit fly, practicing sanitation to prevent fruit fly infestations may be sufficient alone).
- Usage of techniques that properly destroy infested fruit and vegetables.
- Diligence to maintain the practice.
- While trees and plants are fruiting, you will need to collect any fallen fruit and unharvested rotting fruit on a daily basis.
- Sanitation can require a lot of physical labour, particularly if you have a lot of crop plants in your garden.
- Bags of baked/solarised fruit in your bin can be smelly and messy.
What to do
Fallen and rotten fruit and vegetables should be removed and disposed of, including any fruit from the tree with dimples or weeping clear sap. While there are many ways to destroy collected fruit, to make sure it is done properly, use the following technique:
- Place fruit inside strong plastic bags (double bag if necessary) and seal tightly.
- Expose the bag to the sun (solarising) for at least three days; or seven days if temperatures are below 30 degrees Celsius.
- Dispose of bags in the normal household rubbish collection.
- Alternatively, you can collect fallen fruit in a plastic bag and place it into a freezer for two days.
- Do not dispose of unwanted fruit and vegetables in compost piles or worm farms, instead, place it directly into the household rubbish collection.
When to do it
Fallen and rotten fruit should be picked up on a daily basis to prevent it from being infested and allow the breeding cycle to continue.