Qfly scare in WA over

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

WA fruit growers can breathe a little easier now the Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) threat has passed.

Department of Agriculture and Food WA officers are winding up a baiting program against the exotic fruit pest, after an outbreak occurred in Highgate in February.

Department officers have been active in the area since a female Qfly was found in the area.

Department entomologist Darryl Hardie said Qfly posed a significant threat to the State’s fruit and vegetable industry if it became established.

The February finding prompted a department response, including increased surveillance, trapping and the application of organic fruit fly bait Naturalure to street trees, laneway plants and selected properties with host plants as part of a Qfly eradication program.

Dr Hardie said a male fly was found in Highgate in early April, but there had been no further detections in the outbreak area since.

“As a result, our baiting program in the area has been suspended, ” he said.

Department officers will continue with an intensive level of trapping and monitoring for Qfly in the area until early September. The higher level of surveillance trapping is to ensure the incursion has been eradicated.

As a part of this process, the department is also continuing to urge residents to restrict the movement of home-grown fruit and vegetables in all or parts of Highgate, East Perth, Perth, Mt Lawley, Northbridge, North Perth and Maylands, until they are informed otherwise.

The department will also continue its ongoing State-wide fruit fly monitoring program to assist with early detection of exotic fruit flies.

“Residents and business operators have been very supportive of this work and we thank everyone involved, ” Dr Hardie said.

The department also said that home-grown fruit sent to the department for testing did not detect any Qfly.

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