Action on Queensland fruit fly in regional Victoria

There are three areas of action throughout Victoria:

  • Greater Sunraysia pest free area action plan
  • Goulburn Murray Valley action plan
  • Yarra Valley action plan

Greater Sunraysia pest free area action plan

The Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA) is a region in north-western Victoria and south-western New South Wales, where grapes, stone fruit and citrus fruit are grown. Check whether you are in the declared outbreak zone.

The Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Committee (IDC) is coordinating efforts to eradicate fruit fly from the region to return it to a pest free area.

The IDC comprises members that represent the:

  • Australian Table Grape Association
  • Swan Hill Summer Fruits Development Association
  • Sunraysia Citrus Growers

Observers from Victorian and NSW State Governments also attend. The committee relies on industry charges and state government grants for funding.

The IDC has successfully run a mass trapping program in Swan Hill, which is being expanded across the PFA. The committee has also removed fruit fly host trees in the region.

Areas with high populations of fruit fly, or 'hot spots', will be targeted using a range of control methods.

The IDC has also initiated a community engagement program in the region. The program will educate residents and commercial growers about how they can eliminate this pest from home gardens and commercial orchards.

If you live in the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area and have a specific question about fruit fly control, please contact:

Greater Sunraysia Fruit Fly Regional Coordinator
Deidre Jaensch
Email: IDC@greatersunraysiapfa.com.au

Or visit the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Committee website.

Goulburn Murray Valley action plan

The Goulburn Murray Valley region stretches along the Murray in Moira and Campaspe Shires through the Goulburn Valley and down into the Strathbogie Ranges. This horticulture production area produces:

  • pears
  • apples
  • stone fruit (including cherries)
  • tomatoes
  • grapes

The Goulburn Murray Valley Governance Group was established in 2016 to manage fruit fly in the region. The group comprises members of local horticulture industry associations, agronomists and five councils representing Campaspe, Moira, Greater Shepparton, Berrigan and Strathbogie Shires; Agriculture Victoria; Goulburn Murray Water and SPC Ardmona.

The group has developed a regional action plan which aims to reduce fruit fly numbers by identifying where there are 'hot spots' and working with industry and community to control fruit fly.

When fruit fly numbers are sufficiently low, sterile male flies from the Sterile Insect Technology (SITplus) program will be released in the region. These infertile fruit flies will mate with female flies which will be unable to produce offspring. It could take up to several years before the mass release of sterile flies occurs.

Recently, a trapping program has been established across the region in commercial orchards and urban areas to monitor fruit fly populations. A host tree removal program is rolling out which aims to reduce the numbers of unwanted host trees and fruit fly breeding sites.

A community awareness campaign is being run. This is so everyone understands their role in fruit fly control and how they can reduce fruit fly populations in the region. The campaign comprises:

  • advertising
  • media coverage
  • community and industry workshops

If you live in the shire of Campaspe, Moira, Greater Shepparton or Strathbogie and have a specific question about fruit fly control, please contact:

Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Regional Coordinator
Ross Abberfield
Email: rabberfield@moira.vic.gov.au

Yarra Valley action plan

The Yarra Valley is an important horticultural growing region north-east of Melbourne. The area is currently free of Queensland fruit fly.

A wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables are grown there, including:

  • cherries
  • strawberries
  • other berries
  • wine grapes
  • apples
  • pears
  • tomatoes
  • citrus
  • peaches
  • nectarines
  • plums

To ensure that the Yarra Valley remains free of Queensland fruit fly, the Yarra Valley Fruit Fly Regional Governance Group was formed. The group includes representatives of the horticulture industries, local and State governments, TAFE and community organisations.

The group has developed a regional action plan to strengthen regional awareness and preparedness, and harness industry and community action. The plan builds on the trapping work of the Yarra Valley Pest Free Place of Production, who demonstrated that a valuable production area within the valley was free of Queensland fruit fly.

Certified Yarra Valley fruit can be exported to Queensland fruit fly sensitive interstate markets without the need for chemical or cold storage treatments. This retains their high quality and longer shelf life.

Complementary to the action plan, Box Hill Institute's Biosecurity Centre of Excellence is developing a fruit fly education program for primary and secondary school students.

The centre has also partnered with the Yarra Valley regional coordinator to host a Queensland fruit fly masterclass educating horticultural businesses, agronomists and home gardeners.

Community educational sessions are held locally, enabling people to:

  • identify Queensland fruit fly
  • prevent it entering the region
  • protect crops using area wide management techniques
  • respond appropriately if the pest is present

Traps are installed across the Yarra Valley and monitored for Queensland fruit fly. Early response and risk mitigation plans are also being developed with industry, community groups and agencies responsible for managing public land. This will ensure that swift action can be taken to prevent Queensland fruit fly establishing in the region.

If you live in the Yarra Valley and think you have an incursion of Queensland fruit fly, it's important to contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 and ask to be put in contact with a Biosecurity Officer. Take a photo and collect a sample of the fly or the larvae if you can, so they can be identified. Store samples in a fridge.

For further information about the Queensland fruit fly work done in the Yarra Valley, please contact:

Yarra Valley Fruit Fly Regional Coordinator
Bronwyn Koll
Email: qff@agribusiness-yarravalley.com

Or visit the Keep Yarra Valley fruit fly free website.

Page last updated: 12 Jul 2020