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South Australia Eradicates Fruit Fly Outbreaks

South Australia Eradicates Fruit Fly Outbreaks

2022-01-21

The state’s $1.3 billion agricultural sector has been relieved of fears after a series of Mediterranean fruit fly infestations were eradicated across metropolitan Adelaide. After a successful two-year operation involving 350 personnel who visited 177,000 homes and properties and released 677 million sterile flies, restrictions on the transit of fruit in more than 170 suburbs have been relaxed. Biosecurity officials in the metropolitan area installed 13,530 more fruit fly traps, applied 467,000 litres of bait, and collected 367 tonnes of fruit.

Primary Industries Minister David Basham remarked, “This is by far the greatest successful fruit fly eradication effort ever delivered in Australia.” “By banding together as a community, we were able to defend our local fresh fruit business while also preventing the insect from moving from Western Australia to the eastern states.” Authorities are still dealing with Queensland fruit fly outbreaks in the suburbs of Ridleyton and in the state’s Riverland. Restrictions relating to the Riverland outbreak will terminate on December 27 and in Ridleyton on February 22 if no new detections are made. Mr Basham said the state government will maintain a zero-tolerance policy at the Yamba border gate and regular roadside inspections to avoid further outbreaks, with substantial fines imposed on anyone caught carrying banned fruit into South Australia or the Riverland.

Mr Basham said to prevent future outbreaks the state government would maintain the zero-tolerance approach at the Yamba border checkpoint and random roadside inspections, with heavy fines for travellers caught bringing prohibited fruit into South Australia or the Riverland. At one stage the outbreaks across Adelaide and in regional centres were considered a real threat to the horticulture industry which employs about 37,000 people. A parliamentary committee was told the outbreaks were the worst on record in SA.

Fruit Flies in Australia

Fruit flies are one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests and pose a risk to most commercial fruit and vegetable crops. Globally, some fruit fly species attack up to 300 species of fruit and above ground vegetables.

Fruit flies are found all around the world:

  • the larvae feed within the fruit or vegetable making the commodity unsaleable
  • they reproduce rapidly – full development within 2 weeks
  • and are prolific – females lay around 500 eggs per batch

Types

There are two main species of fruit flies threatening Australia’s $13 billion horticultural industry: the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) and the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata).

Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)