Fruit flies are considered the worst fruit pest in the world. Australia is not immune to the danger they pose to the agricultural community. Horticultural products affected by their infestations already amounts to $250 million annually, thus the government issued quarantine restrictions on the movement of fruits and vegetables and certain states to avoid its further spread. This applies both to travelers and those who commercially import produce.
Fruit Fly Characteristics
There are many types of fruit flies creating havoc among farmers. The fertilized eggs of these pests become active during late spring; unfortunately they find the ripe fruit of your harvest as their favorite breeding ground. As a result, your fruits become infested and rotten. Aside from causing unhygienic practices inside your home because they easily get attracted with the sound, sight and smell of any type of food.
Two of the most common fruit fly specie in Australia is the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, commonly found infesting Western Australia, and the Queensland Fruit Fly, commonly found infesting Northern Territories of Australia, parts of New South Wales, Queensland, and the eastern corner of Victoria. Both flies are relatively small in comparison to houseflies, but it is still best to know their specific traits and characteristics.
Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Ceratitis Capitata)
It enjoys feasting on deciduous fruits like peach, apple, and pear. Easily distinguish this pest through the following characteristics:
It measures around 3.5 mm to 5 mm in length.
It has a yellowish yet brown tinge present in its legs, abdomen, or wings.
It has reddish purple eyes.
It has ocellar bristles.
It has a creamy white to yellow color on its thorax mixed with black blotch
It feeds on over 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables including cucumber, apricot, guava, lemon, mango, nectarine, peach, persimmon, orange, and tomatoes. Spot its presence in your farm or garden through these characteristics:
Adult female could measure as long as 6 mm and a wing expanse of 10 to 12 mm.
It has transparent wings marked with brown.
It has an abdomen with constricted base, which is flared in the middle but
rounded at the tip
It has a broad creamy thorax and dorsal band that runs towards the scutellum
where you will spot a yellow stripe on both sides.
e. It has shoulders exhibiting pale yellow color.
Management and Prevention of Fruit Fly
As a rule, you are not to bring fresh fruits to Fruit Fly Exclusion Zone areas. Moreover, you should not take any fruit or vegetable into South Australia, Victoria, or New South Wales as part of the government’s preventive measure.
If you believe your crops are invested with fruit flies then it is best to use report it immediately to the authorities for assistance. Otherwise you may use the bag and bin method, stripping the fruit and placing it in a bag for disposal so it will not spread to other fruits and plants. There are fruit and vegetable bins provided placed on major transport routes for your convenience.
The following treatment can be used to help prevent its spread to other plants and nearby plants:
Foliar Spot Treatments
Use of Spinosad as treatment is sprayed on trees to help reduce the spread of fruit fly infestation in your garden.
Soil of the host trees with possible fruit fly infestation are treated using approved agricultural chemicals.
Guarantee that no fruit falls to the ground because any rotting fruit left neglected on the ground will immediately cause an outbreak in your farm or garden. Nicely prune your fruit trees while administering approved pesticides on these plants to help get rid of the infestation.
Sterile Fruit Fly Release
This is a biological approach used by some farmers wherein sterile fruit flies are released in the infested area. Once these flies mate with the fertile population, the offspring production will be reduced, until the wild flies in your farm are eradicated.
Organic, Natural Solution to treat Fruit Fly