Fruit fly fight continues

Project officer for the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA) Sam Testa said it was important to make sure the male and female fruit fly traps were separate from each other.

Project officer for the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA) Sam Testa said it was important to make sure the male and female fruit fly traps were separate from each other.

Over the last few weeks, Swan Hill residents have received fruit fly traps as part of the new roll-out.

Project officer for the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA) Sam Testa has urged people to ensure they make use of the new traps.

"It's important that everyone hangs both their traps up immediately, as the traps are of no use if left in the sealed bag," Mr Testa said.

"The main message we want to get to people is to hang up your traps, pick fruit up off the ground and consider multiple strategies to combat fruit flies."

Mr Testa said he still encountered confusion about the role of the traps and what they did.

"The traps are designed to attract and kill flies, but the yellow ones only attract them from 10 metres away," he said.

"So you're not attracting flies from all over town to come to your backyard."

He said the ideal place to hang the traps was high up in the tree canopy and in the shade.

"If the traps are in direct sun, the gel and other chemicals will dissipate and break down quicker," he said.

"Flies usually hang around the tree canopy anyway."

Mr Testa said it was also important to make sure the male and female traps were separate from each other, ideally on different trees, adding the traps were only one part of the solution when breaking down the fruit fly life cycle.

"People must not forget that hygiene practices need to still be in place," he said.

"Since the weather is still quite warm, over ripe and infested fruit will be falling to the ground.

"Preventing the fruit from falling on the ground in the first place means you are helping break down the life cycle of the fly."

Once an infected piece of fruit falls to the ground, the maggot will exit and bury itself into the ground to pupae and transform into the next generation fly.

It only takes approximately two weeks for a fly larva to turn into a fully grown fly.

"People must be vigilant with their fruit trees and use multiple strategies like putting up nets or spraying," he said.

"If all this sounds like hard work or you decide you no longer are able to look after your tree or trees to the level required to protect against fruit fly, give the PFA Industry Development Committee a call and we can assist urban residents by arranging to have their trees removed at no charge for a limited time.

To read more fruit fly prevention tips, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Guardian (March 15).

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