AGRICULTURE Victoria is encouraging south-west residents to check their gardens and orchards for maggots, to support efforts to monitor for fruit flies in the region.
The department has warned the south-west region was at greater risk of fruit flies spreading from interstate after recent Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks in South Australia’s metropolitan area.
Mediterranean fruit fly is an exotic species to Victoria and is a significant threat to the state’s multi-million-dollar fruit and vegetable industries.
“Fruit fly maggots are often found in the centre of the fruit. The maggots are five to 10mm long and creamy-white in colour,” Agriculture Victoria domestic quarantine senior project officer Lavinia Zirnsak said.
“Fruit flies are usually active from September to May, so now is the time to keep a look out in your garden or on your farm to see if they are present,” Ms Zirnsak said.
Ms Zirnsak said anyone who reports a suspect fruit fly infestation within the region would receive a free collection kit from Agriculture Victoria with instructions for submitting a sample for testing.
“It’s as simple as placing the maggot infested piece of fruit or vegetable into a sealed plastic bag and sending it to our laboratory for identification, and then the sender will be notified of the result,” she said.
Ms Zirnsak said it was important to follow good garden hygiene such as regularly monitoring for presence in your garden, picking fruit and vegetables as they ripen and disposing of unwanted fruit and scraps carefully.
“Other control methods include protecting trees, plants and produce through netting, gazebos and bags, baiting and trapping and using insecticide control,” Ms Zirnsak said.
If you suspect you have fruit fly in your garden in the south-west, please call Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or email email@example.com.