Article by: Hari Yellina
Mark Doecke, the chair of CITRUS SA, said the organisation will continue to fight for the culling of backyard fruit trees in an effort to eradicate Queensland fruit fly from the Riverland. Following a fruit fly identification earlier this month, limitations for the Pike River and Renmark West suspension areas were extended another five months to October 25. “It’s regrettable that all of these detections have been in private trees rather than commercial orchards,” said Mr Doecke. “We’ve been advocating for a ban or the removal of backyard orchards – if you have a backyard tree that you don’t care for, get rid of it.”
Although PIRSA fruit fly response general manager Nick Secomb agreed that it was sad that limits could not be lifted, the new detection came at a time when Qfly may still survive the winter. “As a result of the cooler weather, we need to prolong the end date farther over the cooler months, including into spring,” he explained. “During the summer, adult flies can emerge from pupae in as little as seven days, yet they can survive the winter as adults.” The elimination process cost PIRSA more than $65 million and saw 677 million sterile flies released by 350 staff across 177,000 properties. Staff also baited trees and collected fruit that had dropped on the ground.
Residents, industry, businesses, community organisations, and the fruit fly response team all worked together to stop the outbreaks in Adelaide, according to PIRSA fruit fly response general manager Nick Secomb. “Thank you to everyone who has complied with the fruit movement restrictions, allowed the PIRSA team access to and bait backyards, maintained their gardens, and properly disposed of rubbish,” Mr Secomb said. “Those in the Ridleyton and adjacent areas who were previously in the afflicted fruit fly region can now pack lunches with any fresh fruit and vegetables — such locally grown strawberries, apples, and pears,” says the statement.
PIRSA will continue to apply organic bait to trees, release sterile fruit flies, install and inspect traps, and look for signs of fruit fly in backyard and commercial fruit in Pike River and Renmark West to eradicate fruit fly. The Riverland area was first subjected to the restrictions in December 2020.