Environment

Queensland fruit fly

The Queensland Fruit Fly is a pest that can devastate commercial and backyard crops. Find out how to identify and manage them to stop their spread.

Managing Queensland Fruit Fly is a community effort. Working together we can prevent it from becoming established in Darebin.

Queensland Fruit fly

Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) is a serious horticultural pest that can devastate commercial and backyard fruit crops. It lays its eggs in many common fruits, causing the flesh to rot and making it unsaleable and undesirable to eat.

Over time QFF have spread from their native habitat in Queensland rain forests to parts of Victoria. Sadly, small outbreaks have occurred in the inner Melbourne area, with recent sightings being reported in Darebin for the first time.

Managing Queensland Fruit Fly is a community effort. Working together we can prevent it from becoming established in Darebin.

How to identify Queensland Fruit Fly

Adult QFF are about seven millimetres long and are reddish-brown in colour, with distinct yellow markings and transparent wings.
The larvae/maggots are white or cream and 2-9 mm long. They are wedge shaped and plumper at the tail end. A black feeding hook is visible in mature larvae. You can find between 2 and 20 larvae in infested fruit.

If you find Queensland Fruit Fly in your garden, please report it to Council via the Queensland Fruit Fly Sightings form

Common host fruit

QFF can infest nearly all common fruits and fruiting vegetables such as: stone fruit (such as nectarines, peaches, nectarines), pome fruit (apples, quinces, pears), citrus (lemons, limes, oranges, cumquats), tomatoes, berries, cherries and grapes.

For a comprehensive list, visit Agriculture Victoria’s List of Host Fruits.

Life cycle

QFF Life Cycle from Agriculture Victoria to learn about the life cycle of Queensland fruit fly and how it spreads.

Managing Queensland Fruit Fly

Scroll down to watch our video to learn how to identify, prevent and manage QFF in your garden.

  • Monitoring: Hang pheromone-based traps to monitor and catch fruit flies. These traps indicate if fruit flies are active in your area and when you need to act. You can also check fruit skin for small puncture marks.
  • Baiting: Baits are one of the most effective methods of fruit fly control. They are a protein bait attractant mixed (usually a yeast liquid) with a small amount of a registered insecticide (e.g Malathion). Spot-spray onto the trunk and branches of host plants. The females eat the protein and are killed by the insecticide before egg laying occurs.
  • Exclusion: Net host fruit and vegetable plants with a fine UV stable mesh over a frame. Alternatively, you can place bags and sleeves over individual fruits.
  • Pruning: Prune trees to a manageable height so fruit can be easily picked and netted. Remove fruit trees altogether if you don’t intend to harvest them, or contact the Darebin Fruit Squad to maintain and harvest your fruit trees for you.
  • Garden hygiene: Harvest produce as they ripen. Pick up and dispose of fallen fruit.
  • Correct disposal of fruit: If you find infested fruit, do NOT put in your compost bin or worm farm as this will aid the Queensland fruit fly life cycle. Process affected fruit by boiling, freezing or place in a plastic bag and leave in the sun for a week to kill larvae. Then dispose of in the landfill bin.

Baits, traps, nets, bags and sleeves can be purchased from nurseries and home garden retailers. You can try making your own baits and traps. Check out this guide on How to make DIY fruit fly traps by Gardening Australia.

Working together to stop the spread

Area-wide management is required for QFF control to be effective. In addition to protecting your own fruit and vegetables from being infested, it is everyone’s responsibility to reduce the population of fruit flies in their local area.

  • Do not dispose untreated produce directly into your rubbish or green bin, as it may spread to another area.
  • Do not take infested fruit to another area – this is how it spreads easily
  • Please do help your neighbours to prune their trees
  • Please do carefully examine the fruit for pests and diseases before sharing and swapping fruit with friends

Further resources

For more information about Queensland fruit fly, the following websites have handy information and resources.

 

Darebin Backyard Harvest Series
Queensland fruit fly