Area wide management of fruit fly - Central Burnett (AH03002)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
A recently completed project undertaken by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) has shown that area wide management (AWM) of Queensland fruit fly can greatly improve control of this serious pest. Fruit fly is a major market access barrier for many fruit and vegetable crops and any strategies which improve field control can provide economic benefits for growers and have the potential to enhance market access opportunities.
The AWM program carried out in Queensland’s major citrus production area in the Central Burnett was planned, developed and implemented by a management committee which included DPI&F researchers, citrus and table grapes growers, shire council representatives and Central Burnett crop consultants. The program was aimed at improving fruit fly control in major commercial crops in the district (citrus, table grapes and mangoes) and at implementing, for the first time, fruit fly control measures in the town backyards of Gayndah and Mundubbera. These town areas contained many fruit trees which had been identified as breeding “hot spots” for fruit fly which contributed to high fly populations across the district particularly in spring and early summer.
The AWM program, known locally as the “Fruit Fly Force”, involved extensive grower education and community engagement activities which began six months prior to the official commencement of the project in July 2003. As a result, there has been excellent support from the Central Burnett community. Growers provided voluntary contributions for matching by Horticulture Australia to fund the program. Under the guidance of local crop consultants, approximately 90 per cent of commercial growers adopted the recommended control methods. In Gayndah and Mundubbera, 89 per cent of town property owners were willing to participate in some way.
The control methods employed in orchards and in the town areas were regular protein baiting of host trees and the distribution of male annihilation technology (MAT) devices (wicks dosed with male lure and insecticide which attract and kill male flies).
These strategies have been very effective resulting in 95 per cent reduction in peak trap catches across the district and infestation in backyard fruit in town areas being reduced from 61 to 22 per cent. It is hoped that this additional level of fruit fly field control will enhance market access opportunities for all Central Burnett growers in the future.
The success of the program to date has prompted the Central Burnett AWM Committee to initiate an ongoing, industry funded project to maintain AWM. The DPI&F research team is now working with producers of other fruit fly host crops to see if similar AWM strategies can be adapted to other horticultural production areas where Queensland fruit fly is a major problem.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited), Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland, AusHort with voluntary contributions from Central Burnett Growers and in-kind contributions from Gayndah and Mundubbera Shire Councils.
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