Queensland Fruit Fly found in Warrandyte

by James Poyner
5th February 2024

FOLLOWING a resurgence of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) in Warrandyte and the Yarra Valley, it is important to identify and destroy this harmful pest.
In 2020, Nillumbik Council released a series of informative videos to help residents identify and manage the invasive pest, and now is timely to remind ourselves of the signs.
With the ability to lay up to 100 eggs per day and only a 14-day lifecycle from insemination to fully grown adult, an unchecked and uncontained population of QFF can have a devastating impact on fruit growers, whether they have one small tree on their balcony or are a large-scale commercial operation.
The three informative videos produced by Nillumbik Council cover how to identify, monitor, and trap QFF. Agriculture Victoria also has a comprehensive guide to managing QFF in your garden and hosted a webinar which is available to watch.
Popular, locally grown fruit which is known to host QFF includes apples, lemons, limes, strawberries and tomatoes.
The complete list of QFF host fruits is available on the Agriculture Victoria website which lists around 80 species of fruit.
The fruit flies are active in spring, when sunset temperatures exceed 16 degrees centigrade and remain active over summer and autumn.
QFF have also been known to survive winter by taking refuge in sheltered areas such as buildings and trees.
So the next few months are an important time to break the cycle, while they are dormant.
Right now, there are a number of steps anyone who grows fruit, on whatever scale, should be taking to reduce the risk of QFF:

  • Prune host plants regularly to a manageable height — so all the fruit can be easily picked and the trees can be netted with exclusion netting if need be.
  • Harvest all ripe fruit and “fruiting vegetables” from the host plants before it has a chance to fall onto the ground (fruiting vegetables includes tomatoes, chillies, capsicums, eggplants, et cetera).
    Collect fallen fruit immediately and dispose of it in the general waste (not compost).
    Suspect-infested fruit needs to be treated (cooked or frozen) before disposal.
  • Remove your unwanted or unmanaged host plants — including blackberries and unmanageable ornamental fruiting plants.
  • Carefully examine the fruit for pests and diseases before sharing and swapping fruit with friends.
    Movement of fruit from place to place is how pests and diseases are most commonly spread.
    Avoid transporting any fresh produce into the area from known QFF areas such as Northern Victoria, NSW, and QLD — this prevents new incursions.
  • Prepare and deploy (when appropriate) traps, and bait spray.
    These are available commercially or you can make your own.

As with most environmental hazards, be they fruit fly, deer or bushfire — knowledge and preparation is key.
Visit the Nillumbik website for information on how to identify and deal with Queensland Fruit Fly.
There is also contact information to report any known instances of QFF in Nillumbik. If you have found QFF in your harvest, you may put a sample in a sealed bag in the fridge and text an image of it to Council’s Land Management Officer on 0456 708 525.
Council can support you to ID the pest and provide information to assist you to eradicate it.
For more information visit: nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Environment/Pest-animals