Fruit fly is a major agricultural pest in Western Australia. Mediterranean fruit fly more commonly known as the Med Fly is a major problem for commercial orchardists and landholders.
Fruit fly attacks a large range of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Historically, fruit fly was, controlled with the use of a pesticide called Fenthion- this was controversially banned in 2015. Fenthion was used to reduce the effect of the Med Fly on WA growers while also providing a tool to prevent the insurgence of the Queesland Fruit Fly (also given a nickname, QFly).
The Qfly lands in Perth-
In late 2015, five Perth Suburbs were quarantined after eight QFly males were caught in surveillance traps. Costing the Department of Agriculture and Food hundreds of thousands of dollars the five affected suburbs were restricted in the movement of fresh fruits and vegetables until the all clear was given. Now Tasmania and South Australia are the only states to have the clear QFly status and the implications for trade with WA is still unknown.
This large output of energy and resources goes to show the seriousness of even a small outbreak of eight flies can be and the effort DAFWA puts into biosecurity to prevent the spread of pests.
Now that Fenthion has been banned in the control of fruit fly there are many different homemade recipes available to help landowners monitor and control fruit fly in their area.
Homemade traps for fruit fly control-
The simple traps below can be made with ingredients and equipment found easily in the home, check out everydayroots.com for more traps ideas.
Don’t forget to use the Pest App from DAFWA to ID any bugs caught!
The Apple Cider Trap- Fruit flies can’t resist the smell of fermentation, and since apple cider vinegar is from fermented apples, it’s a dream drink to them. Heat the vinegar beforehand to release more of its irresistible fragrance.
A mason jar or something similar, a funnel (you can make one yourself), ½ cup of apple cider vinegar, a drop of dish washing soap, and a piece of ripe or overripe fruit (optional).
Heat up the apple cider vinegar and pour into your jar. Add a few drops of dishwashing soap to break up the surface of the liquid and prevent the flies from sitting on the surface. Roll up a piece of paper to make a funnel and place it in the top of the jar, the flies will follow the funnel down but won’t be able to find their way out and will drown. If you find the flies aren’t drowning you can place the whole trap in the freezer for 15-30 minutes until the flies have died. You can either replicate the trap or continue to use the same one.
The Jar Type Trap- Use the fruit flies weakness to lure then in – fermenting fruit
Equipment- A glass jar, plastic wrap, a toothpick, some very ripe or overripe produce, and some soapy water.
Put your rotting and/or very ripe fruit in the bottom of a jar. Cover the top of the jar with plastic wrap, secure with a rubber band, and poke holes in the plastic using a toothpick. Put the traps in places fruit flies are congregating and when the trap is full you can submerge in hot soapy water or place in the freezer.
Community responsibility in fruit fly control-
With the new restrictions on pesticides, growers are now at the mercy of good husbandry from landowners in the control of fruit fly. To help reduce fruit fly residents can remove ripening fruit and pick up fallen fruit around trees.
Don’t forget burying ripening fruit does not control fruit fly as the larvae can still emerge from the soil.
For more species or control information on the fruit fly visit the Department of Food and Agriculture website here.