Field officers have been appointed across the Goulburn Murray Valley as part of a co-ordinated approach to protecting the region against Queensland fruit fly.
The deployment of several regional field officers allows for the immediate management of fruit fly hot spots as they occur.
Goulburn Murray Valley regional QFF co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said the regional QFF trapping program had detected a significant upsurge in fruit fly numbers during December, and indications suggested the increase would continue through January and February.
‘‘The appointment of field officers results in a considerable bolstering of existing resources and is an important element in protecting the region from fruit fly through co-ordinated area-wide pest management,’’ Mr Abberfield said.
The officers have been funded through the Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Program and were deployed at the beginning of January.
Mr Abberfield said vigilance was required from the whole community in order to protect the region and its horticulture industry from the pest.
‘‘Under laboratory conditions, each female fruit fly can lay up to 2000 eggs, which, in the field can translate to approximately half that number,’’ he said.
‘‘Those offspring can breed another generation in less than a month if suitable host fruit and weather conditions exist, resulting in rapid population increases.’’
In order to prevent townships becoming breeding grounds for fruit fly, anyone who grows fruit trees and vegetables should inspect their ripening produce and correctly dispose of contaminated fruit and vegetables before the larvae turns into breeding adults.
‘‘Any fruit and vegetable in the home garden that has been infested with fruit fly should be destroyed by placing it in the freezer or microwave, or alternatively by placing it in a sealed plastic bag and leaving it in the sun for five to seven days to kill any maggots prior to disposal,’’ Mr Abberfield said.
Fruit and vegetables affected by fruit fly should only be disposed of once they have been appropriately treated in order to ensure the pest is not transferred to another location.
Home gardeners are asked to apply a range of control methods, such as the use of exclusion netting or fruit bagging, traps and insecticide or bait spray where it is considered appropriate.
‘‘Home gardeners with host fruit in their garden, yard or vegetable patch should apply a combination of control measures rather than relying on just one action,’’ Mr Abberfield said.