New fruit fly outbreak in South Australia

19th March 2021 | Eativity editors

Residents in the Riverland region are again being asked to check their home-grown fruit and keep backyard fruit trees tidy as two new fruit fly outbreaks are declared in the area.

More than 460 biosecurity staff are responding to fruit fly outbreaks across South Australia, with further resources being deployed to the Riverland after two new detections. Maggots were found in a resident’s home-grown fruit in Berri, while larvae was also discovered in a commercial consignment and traced back to Pike River.

These tiny pests can cause huge problems for our horticulture industries.

Department of Primary Industries and Regions Biosecurity SA Executive Director Nathan Rhodes says significant resources have been committed to eradicating fruit fly from the Riverland: “Immediate eradication activities are underway, including organic baiting and fruit checking, with additional staff assisting to get on top of these outbreaks,” he says.

More than 61,000kg of fruit has been collected across Renmark West, Monash and Cooltong in Riverland fruit fly response efforts, mostly from backyard fruit trees.

“In the Renmark West, Cooltong and Monash outbreak and suspension areas there are almost 8000 residences, so it is critical we ask people to check their backyard fruit trees and vegetable gardens and do not move produce off their property,” Rhodes says.

“Keep your gardens tidy – pick up fallen fruit and pick ripe produce promptly – and if you suspect you have fruit fly-infested produce, call the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010.”

South Australia’s fruit fly outbreaks are not only affecting consumers’ everyday foods; they’re also threatening thousands of local jobs, businesses and livelihoods – a large proportion of Australia’s horticultural production is susceptible to attack by fruit flies, and an outbreak can lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in lost income.

“The department is working closely with affected producers so they can continue to meet export requirements for their produce, and I must reiterate the Riverland’s fruit fly-free status remains in areas outside of the outbreaks,” Rhodes says.

While composting is normally a great way to divert food waste from landfill, it’s also a fruit fly magnet.

If you are in the red outbreak area in Berri township, instead of using your garden compost, you must put unwanted fruit and vegetables at risk from fruit fly, including waste, into your kerbside green waste wheelie bin. The Berri Barmera Council will increase collection to a weekly service and is implementing “fruit fly safe” disposal processes.

Those in the Berri outbreak area who don’t have a kerbside green waste service should seal fruit and veg waste in an airtight plastic bag and arrange collection by biosecurity officers.

Find out what fruit and vegetables are at risk, find out if your area is affected and check details of how to dispose of fruit waste in your area by visiting fruitfly.sa.gov.au

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