Where do flies mate?
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.
CAUGHT OUT: Dennis Dugdell shows off one of the monitoring units.