Measure taken to keep SA fruit fly free

DETECTED: Mediterranean fruit fly was found in Thevenard and Ceduna earlier this year. Photo: PIRSA
DETECTED: Mediterranean fruit fly was found in Thevenard and Ceduna earlier this year. Photo: PIRSA

Millions of sterile fruit flies are set to be released in two Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak areas in a bid to eradicate the horticultural pest.

The release of one million flies per week over the next eight weeks forms part of the eradication program for the two Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks Thevenard and Ceduna, which were declared earlier this year in May and June.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said South Australia had an outstanding track record for successfully eradicating fruit fly outbreaks.

“It is only a matter of time before we eradicate these current outbreaks and South Australia has a 100 per cent success record in fruit fly eradication,” he said.

“A ground release of millions of sterile flies each week for the next eight weeks is key to combating outbreaks at Ceduna and Thevenard.

“Released sterile flies carry a lethal payload for fruit fly populations with sterile males set on a mission to mate with any remaining wild female fruit flies and eliminating the colony by breaking the cycle of females laying viable eggs – the short-lived flies die out without a new generation to follow.”

Mr Whetstone said the state government was investing $5 million per year in an effort to keep South Australia free from fruit fly, helping to protect the state’s $1.25 billion horticulture industry and allowing South Australians to “eat our backyard fruit and vegetables”.

“Keeping South Australia free of fruit fly is everyone’s responsibility and it’s a timely reminder for travellers to South Australia to remember to ‘Eat It, Bin It or Declare It’,” he said.

“My department is ramping up quarantine measures on major roads into the state and approaching our fruit growing regions.

“Drivers can expect to see random roadblocks and vehicle inspections on roads into our fruit production regions, heavy fines for carrying fruit into pest free areas and commercial vehicles found harbouring fruit will be turned around at the border.”

The Thevenard and Ceduna quarantine zones are due to be lifted on November 26 and November 27, 2018 respectively, should there be no further detections.

If you find maggots or suspect fruit fly, call the fruit fly hotline on 1300 666 010.

For further information about the importance of keeping South Australia fruit fly free, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fruitfly.