Get active in the garden this summer to combat unwanted pest

Home gardeners are reminded to pick any unwanted fruit from their trees and off the ground as part of a variety of activities required to guard against Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) this summer.
Following relatively mild weather which has been conducive for breeding, numbers are expected to rise in late December around Perth and in early January throughout the South-West.

Department of Agriculture and Food senior entomologist Darryl Hardie said backyard fruit growers should have a range of control measures in place to stop the pest.

“Seasonal medfly activity will remain high from late December through to April unless we experience some heatwaves, making ripening stone fruit, tropical fruit, and pome fruit key targets,” Dr Hardie said.

“If you want to enjoy produce you have grown in your own backyard, as well as support your neighbours with fruit trees, it is essential you take all the required steps to control fruit fly on your trees.”

Dr Hardie said home gardeners who use bagging as a technique to protect their produce, should start now. This can involve bagging single fruits or bunches, or even whole trees, with muslin or another appropriate fly mesh.

Key steps to controlling fruit fly in backyards include:
- don’t let fruit rot on the ground and get rid of any excess fruit by solarising the fruit in sealed black plastic bags;
- if you have unwanted or unmanaged trees, remove them;
- once fruit has formed on your trees, commence weekly foliar baiting, install liquid traps and consider exclusion netting.
Dr Hardie said traditional cover spray products that contained fenthion or dimethoate were no longer permitted for use in home gardens. “However, several products containing either maldison or spinosad are available in home pack sizes for use in foliar fruit fly baits,” he said.  "Baits used on tree foliage once or twice a week provide a lethal feeding patch that attracts the flies."
Baits used on tree foliage once or twice a week provide a lethal feeding patch that attracts the flies.

Traps that contain a liquid to attract and drown fruit flies can also be effective. These are available commercially, for example CeraTrap, or can be made using plastic drink bottles with entry holes for the flies.

Fruit fly control information is available on the department website. Links on the right hand side of the medfly page include how to bait, how lure and kill traps work and recipes for traps. 
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