Article by: Hari Yellina
Following the discovery of insects in monitoring traps, a new Queensland fruit fly outbreak has been announced in Renmark North. The new 1.5-kilometer red outbreak area, which overlaps the existing Renmark West outbreak area and includes the towns of Renmark North and Chaffey, will be visited by PIRSA officials. In the new outbreak and suspension zones, restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables at risk of fruit flies have been implemented. According to Fruit Fly Response general manager Nick Secomb, the current epidemic was triggered by the finding of five wild flies within 14 days within a 1km radius, as per National Fruit Fly Management Protocols.
“As part of the fruit fly eradication effort, PIRSA is now contacting homeowners and growers in the new Renmark North outbreak area,” he stated. “Our crews in orange overalls are contacting households with advice about what to do now that they are in a red outbreak area, and will be frequently applying bait to foliage where fruit fly may rest, as well as inspecting fruit for symptoms of fruit fly,” says the spokesperson. “Check if you’re in a red outbreak or yellow suspension region and how the mobility restrictions effect you by looking up your address on the fruit fly website’s map.” “If you live in an area affected by the red epidemic, please keep your fruits and vegetables on your property and do not share, sell, or give them away.”
“We’re nearing the end of the usual peak months for fruit fly and maggot detections, and we’re confident these outbreaks can be eradicated, just as we did the Berri, Cooltong, Monash, and 12 Adelaide outbreaks last year, but our success will be contingent on residents and growers assisting us by doing everything they can to eliminate fruit fly breeding opportunities.” Jason Size, a local stone fruit grower and chair of the Riverland Fruit Fly Committee, asked Riverlanders to take action now to secure the future of their backyard fruit and the sustainability of local growers.
“It’s not only about our local industry and jobs at stake here; it’s also about you being able to walk into your own yard and pluck your own fruit off the tree without worrying about maggots ruining it,” he said. “Growers are doing everything they can to keep fruit fly at bay and maintain their properties so that the Riverland’s pest-free status can be restored. This is crucial for the local economy, jobs, and industries. “We all want to be able to cultivate, share, and enjoy fruit in our backyards, yet this is currently under jeopardy. Local communities must continue to support the government’s fruit fly eradication campaign so that we can all defeat this pest together.
“Please help by doing the right thing in your own garden and preventing fruit fly infestations.” The Renmark North outbreak area will stay in place until December 17 if no further fruit fly detections are made. Due to overlap with the Renmark West and Paringa outbreak suspension zones, the end dates have been pushed out to December 17. Pike River, Pike River West, Loxton and Loxton North are remain under limits until December 14, while Waikerie’s limitations are likely to be lifted on December 9, although PIRSA has cautioned that any more detections might affect those dates.