The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

What does in­fested f ruit look like?

Queens­land Fruit Flies (QFF) of­ten leave marks on f ruit at the point of egg-lay­ing, known as sting marks. Not all f ruits show ob­vi­ous marks, some­times sting marks, the points where fe­males punc­ture f ruit and lay eggs, show up as a black or brown skin wound. This oc­curs in most va­ri­eties of nec­tarine, lo­quat and ap­ple. The ap­ple sting mark of­ten ex­udes juice.

This mark­ing is a wound re­sponse by f ruit as well as the re­sult of bac­te­ria the fly in­jects with her eggs that break down the flesh so that newly hatched eggs have food to eat.

All f ruit, even thicker skinned or­anges rot away un­der­neath the egg lay­ing site and are left soft in these spots. In some f ruit there is no ob­vi­ous sting mark ev­i­dent, such as blue­ber­ries and cherries. As eggs hatch the f ruit rapidly breaks down how­ever some­times the skin stays pretty much in­tact but col­lapses as soon as you touch it.

When you see large holes — about 2 mm wide — you are too late. These are exit holes. Eggs were laid into this f ruit about 7–12 days prior and hatch into mag­gots which ma­ture and leave the f ruit. Af­ter this time, the f ruit is vir­tu­ally empty of f ruit fly — they are now present as pu­pae in the soil or leaf lit­ter un­der the tree.

Weather out­look for Septem­ber

The weather out­look for Septem­ber fore­casts less rain­fall and higher temperatures than usual.

What does this mean for fruit fly?

If max­i­mum temperatures ex­ceed the av­er­age Septem­ber tem­per­a­ture of 15˚C to 18˚C, there is a high like­li­hood that over­win­ter­ing adult flies (flies that sur­vive win­ter) will find each other, mate and lay eggs.

Tree re­moval pro­gram

Take ad­van­tage of the f ree Ur­ban Fruit Tree Re­moval Pro­gram and have a qual­i­fied ar­borist re­move your un­wanted f ruit tree.

Ac­tion to take now

• Put QFF mon­i­tor­ing traps out

• Check traps at least once a week

• Check for the pres­ence of young and ripen­ing fruit

•Check fruit for sting marks and/ or as­so­ci­ated rot de­vel­op­ment

•If QFF are present net fruit and/ or bait crops with fruit fly baits

•Pick and destroy all in­fested fruit prop­erly

These steps are the best strat­egy to re­duce the im­pact of over­win­ter­ing QFF on this sea­son’s crops in your back­yard and or­chard.

For as­sis­tance man­ag­ing QFF, con­tact (03) 5871 9222 or gmvfruit­fly@moira.vic.gov.au.

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