Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) – Take action NOW to protect your fruit and vegies
Our long wet, cold winter is likely to have delayed the start of the Queensland Fruit Fly season in Banyule and surrounds. Hopefully, it has also killed the overwintering males which would give us a head start. Remember, QFF will mate when the temperature is 16 degrees at sunset.
Our QFF project funded by Banyule City Council taught us a great deal and now in our third season, we believe we can control the pest and rid it from our individual gardens even if rife in our neighbours’ gardens. That’s very good news!
There are 4 steps
Step 1 Put out Wild May in lure bottles NOW to catch the males. Top up when necessary and check for Queensland Fruit Fly. Catching any will indicate you need to go to steps 2-4 immediately.
Step 2 Put out protein baits such as Ceratraps, to attract both male and female QFF NOW. We no longer recommend home made protein baits as we have had no confirmation of success with these.
Step 3 As soon as pollination has taken place, spray fruit on fruit trees all over with kaolin clay to deter females laying. They hate the grittiness of the clay. Or net trees, tying the net at the bottom or weight it down. (Spraying citrus trees fortnightly from 3rd week in October to the end of the 1st week in December will also prevent gall wasp).
Step 4 Net your vegies especially tomatoes, chillies, capsicums and eggplant after pollination. Tomatoes self pollinate so net them at planting time. (Cherry tomatoes are less prone to attack but should be netted anyway).
Garden hygiene is extremely important. Clear any fallen or infested fruit but do not compost. Boil, microwave or freeze and then bin. If it is possible to let chooks run under your trees, all the better as they will eat any larvae crawling or dropping out of the fruit, before they can pupate in the ground.
Where to get QFF supplies
Wild May, Lure bottles, Fruition traps and Kaolin clay are available at COST price from the Sustainable Macleod Shop until stock runs out. Pickup is at the community garden Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
Bulleen Art and Garden and Bunnings will have all or some of the above products.
Ceratraps can be bought online.
Netting is available from Bulleen Art and Garden off the roll, 6 metres wide, and is not expensive. Best to pre-measure your beds or trees and buy off the roll as packeted net is very narrow (and often therefore a waste of money). Netting needs to be white, 2mm x 2mm or 3mm x 5mm mesh. Synthetic nets, curtains etc are unsuitable as the area they surround becomes a heat bank with resultant development of aphids, whitefly etc.
Take action NOW! When you see evidence of QFF in your fruit or vegies, it is too late.
Written by Robin Gale-Baker