Fruit fly baiting a management tool: DAFWA

The West Australian
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Stone fruit growers are being asked to remain vigilant about the risk of Mediterranean fruit fly.

The Department of Agriculture and Food recommends baiting as a pivotal management tool for commercial growers, while backyard growers can also protect fruit by using fly-proof bags.

Department senior research officer Sonya Broughton said baiting by backyard and commercial growers was critical in suppressing numbers as part of any community-wide strategy.

"Baiting needs to be carried out weekly, spraying foliage with approved mixtures containing chemicals such as spinosad and malathion," Dr Broughton said.

"This should be continued throughout the summer, even after fruit has been harvested to reduce fly numbers and help break the cycle."

Dr Broughton said close proximity of many properties in suburban areas meant that baiting was less effective because flies were attracted from nearby areas.

In these cases, netting a tree or bagging individual fruit, although labour-intensive, was the best chance of obtaining a maggot-free harvest for home gardeners.

Mediterranean fruit fly management has become much more challenging in the past two years because of restrictions on the use of traditional cover sprays such as fenthion.

"If you happen to be one of those home gardeners who are unable to control fruit fly effectively, removing the trees and growing something less susceptible may be the best course of action," she said.

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