Where do flies mate?

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

CSIRO sci­en­tists are us­ing mi­cro sens­ing, ster­ile in­sect tech­nol­ogy and new in­set trap­ping sys­tems to com­bat the Queens­land fruit fly.

The same tech­niques were used with suc­cess in South Aus­tralia against the Mediter­ranean fruit fly.

How­ever un­like the pro­gram in South Aus­tralia, CSIRO is de­vel­op­ing a male-only ster­ile Queens­land fruit fly.

The first step in the pro­gram is to learn more about the breed­ing be­hav­iour of the fruit fly.

“De­spite all our knowl­edge of fruit flies, we do not ac­tu­ally know where they go to breed,” CSIRO re­searcher Dr Paul De Barro said.

“When you’re look­ing to de­ploy ster­ile male flies to dis­rupt the mat­ing cy­cle this in­for­ma­tion is a crit­i­cal piece of the puzzle.”

Mi­cro sens­ing tech­nol­ogy is used to un­der­stand breed­ing pat­terns of the in­sect.

“It will tell us how many ster­ile flies we will need to re­lease and most im­por­tantly, when to re­lease them,” Dr De Barro said.

“Com­bin­ing SIT with other sen­sor tech­nolo­gies rep­re­sents a game-chang­ing op­por­tu­nity as it not only pro­vides us with in­for­ma­tion about how the Q-fly in­ter­acts with its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, but of­fers real op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­duce the cost of cur­rent mon­i­tor­ing net­works for fruit fly.”

Fruit fly free­dom for Tas­ma­nia is worth about $20 mil­lion a year and the South Aus­tralian River­land about $80m–$100m a year.

PHOTO: TROY KIP­PEN

CAUGHT OUT: Den­nis Dugdell shows off one of the mon­i­tor­ing units.

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