ECHUCA-MOAMA fruit tree owners are urged to spring into action and do their bit to reduce the spread of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF).
QFF becomes active in spring after being relatively dormant during the colder weather, with home gardeners reminded now is the time to act.
Goulburn Murray Valley regional fruit fly co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said it was important anyone with fruit trees was aware of the necessary preventative steps in reducing the spread of QFF.
‘‘It is essential that people take a range of measures like setting traps and using netting to provide a physical barrier to stop female QFF from reaching fruit and laying eggs,’’ he said.
‘‘Other key preventative actions include baiting or spraying if appropriate.
‘‘Unfortunately, no single action will prevent the spread of QFF. Gardeners and property owners need to understand the importance of good garden hygiene, which means picking fruit as it ripens rather than letting it sit and rot, and destroying rotten or unwanted fruit.
‘‘Unwanted host fruit can be destroyed by placing it in the freezer or microwave to kill maggots.
‘‘Fruit can also be destroyed by placing it in a sealed plastic bag and leaving it in the sun for five to seven days before throwing it out.’’
Other key management actions include the removal of unwanted fruit trees, early harvest of fruit and undertaking pruning to allow fruit to be easily picked and the easy application of netting, sprays or baits.
Property owners with unwanted fruit trees in residential yards have until the end of October to apply to have them removed at no cost through the Urban Fruit Tree Removal Program, which has been extended for an extra month due to high demand.
‘‘QFF is a serious risk to the region’s multi-billion dollar horticulture industry, backyard orchards and vegetable gardens, with an integrated approach imperative in protecting the region,’’ Mr Abberfield said.
‘‘QFF populations typically increase in the warmer weather so now is the time to be most effective in managing rising numbers.’’
For information about the management of QFF or the Urban Fruit Tree Removal Program, contact Campaspe Shire Council on 54812200.
■For information, like the Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Action Group on Facebook for important QFF updates.