Controlling Queensland fruit fly on orchards and farms

It's important to protect your orchard from Queensland fruit fly (QFF). If left uncontrolled, QFF can destroy crops.

There are a range of approaches commercial growers can take to control QFF.

Practise good on-farm hygiene

Practising good on-farm hygiene will help reduce hosts fruits and vegetables available for QFF to lay their eggs into and complete their lifecycle.

To reduce the risk of attracting QFF to your orchard:

  • collect and destroy any rotting, overripe or unwanted host produce, whether it is on the ground or still on the tree to prevent it from becoming infested with QFF
  • remove any unwanted or neglected QFF host produce trees
  • regularly inspect produce (even if it looks unaffected) by cutting open fruit and checking for QFF larvae.

Options for destroying fallen/unwanted host produce include:

  • bury produce at a depth of least 1m to prevent flies from exiting the ground after pupating) (reference: Apple and Pear IPDM factsheet).
  • mulch fruit using a slasher or flail mower and spread thinly to ensure quick drying (adapted from The importance of hygiene for Medfly control, DPIRD publication)
  • use cold storage to reduce the core temperature of fruit to 1°C or below for 3 weeks or more to kill maggots inside produce (may not be feasible for fallen fruit or fruit left on the trees after harvest) (reference: Apple and Pear IPDM factsheet).

Use traps and lures to monitor fly activity

You can monitor adult QFF activity by using traps containing synthetic sex pheromone attractants or food lures.

The most commonly used sex pheromone attractant (or lure) is Cuelure with an added insecticide, which attracts and kills only male QFF. A wide range of food lure traps are also available, which attract both sexes of QFF.

To use traps and lures:

  1. Place traps in the shade of the canopy of host trees.
  2. Check the contents on a weekly basis during the warmer months and fortnightly during the winter months.

Use baits to kill flies

You can use baits to effectively reduce QFF numbers on your farm. Baits are made up of a protein attractant mixed with an insecticide, and are sprayed onto the trunks or foliage of both host and non-host trees.

Adult flies are attracted to the bait as a food source and are killed by the insecticide.

Different QFF baits are available for purchase from your local chemical reseller.

Protect produce with cover spraying

Cover spraying can be used to directly control adult QFF on contact, and some systemic chemicals also destroy eggs and larvae within fruit. You can help to protect produce from QFF infestations by using an early season baiting program followed by cover spray treatments.

Late in the season, you might also spray fallen fruit and fruit that won't be harvested to manage QFF infestations.

Use chemicals responsibly

Always apply chemicals according to the directions on the product label or an Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority Chemical Permit.

Remove unwanted hosts from your property

Remove unmanaged host trees from your property.  A fruit tree in a garden at your orchard can provide the same kind of risk as an unmanaged tree in town.  It’s also important to remove wild host plants from boundaries such as prickly pear and wild rootstocks.

Manage the impact of neglected horticultural properties

If you're being impacted by a neighbouring neglected orchard or vineyard, contact the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

Your case will be assessed by one of our officers. If a declared pest or disease is confirmed, the site might be considered for compliance action under section 25 of the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010.

Page last updated: 10 Jan 2024