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Fruit Flies to be Released in South Australia

2021-04-06

The South Australian government will release close 100 million sterile fruit flies from the sky in an attempt to try and eradicate the pests that are currently harrassing numerous suburbs. The Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) flies will be set free from a low-flying airplane across 11 outbreak areas across metropolitan Adelaide and Renmark.

The program, under which 90 million sterile male insects will be released, will begin on Saturday and run over ten weeks with flights twice weekly. Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the male sterile fruit flies will seek out female fruit flies in the outbreak areas.

The Marshall Liberal Government is all set to eradicate fruit fly from South Australia while releasing sterile flies from the air is the latest weapon in our armoury, opined Minister Basham said. These sterile flies are bred to be strong, fit, and very attractive to the wild fruit flies. In total 90 million of these insects will be released across 10 weeks with flights twice a week over outbreak areas where the sterile flies will breed with the wild flies meaning they can’t reproduce, and we break the life cycle.

As we continue to battle the fly outbreaks, it is vital South Australians continue to uphold the rigid quarantine rules in place to protect the $1.3 billion horticulture industry vulnerable to insect. If the residents live in an outbreak area they must not move fruit and vegetables off the property, especially over the Easter long weekend and school holidays as many South Australians travel around the state. Restrictions are currently in place for the 11 metropolitan Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks and one Qfly outbreak until at least 18 December.