Think About the Fruit Fly for Pest Control

Think About the Fruit Fly for Pest Control

The Queensland Fruit Fly Bactrocera tryoni is wasp-like in appearance and about 7 mm in length. It is reddish-brown in colour with distinct yellow oval markings.

Many people confuse fruit flies with Vinegar Flies ( Drosophila melanogaster);

those flies that hover around the fruit bowl indoors.

The Vinegar Fly is not actually a fruit fly as it does not feed on fruit directly, just the yeasts associated with rotting fruit.

The female fruit fly only lays eggs in maturing and ripe fruit. The larvae burrow inside the fruit and destroy it during the process of development. Fallen fruit will more often than not contain fruit fly larvae. When fully developed as larvae, they will burrow into the ground and emerge as adult fruit flies. The full life cycle from egg to adult can occur in as little as six weeks. There can be five or more generations of fruit fly in a single growing season.

Fruit Fly Traps

Many people put a lot of faith in homemade traps. When baited up with one of the recipes listed below, there is no question that the trap will capture many males. Problem is, not all males will fall victim and the females that do the egg-laying are not attracted at all. Traps are better served as monitors.

Control measures

  1. Control of fruit fly can include a collection of ripe and fallen fruit, disposal of infested fruit, and use of bait traps and cover sprays.
  2. A simple, non-chemical method of reducing fruit fly is to remove all overripe and fallen fruit from around trees. Place infested fruit inside strong plastic bags and expose to the sun for at least three days; seven days if temperatures are below 30°C. It is vital that all fallen fruit should be collected.
  3. Commercial splash baits applied to foliage and the base of trees will attract and destroy adult fruit flies
  4. Should a spray treatment be required, products containing the active ingredients fenthion or dimethoate should be used for reliable results.
  5. Opting for early fruiting varieties can be a better method of saving the fruit for use on the table rather than feeding to the chooks.
  6. Failure to control Queensland fruit fly in New South Wales can lead to prosecution under the Plant Diseases Act 1924 with fines of up to $11,000.

Bait Mixtures

Mixture 1:

  • 3 tsp vegemite dissolved in a little warm water
  • 2 cups of fruit juice or wine.
  • 1-litre water

Mixture 2:

  • 2 teaspoons cloudy ammonia
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 litres water

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