What kinds of Fruit fly are there in Australia?
In Australia, there are two primary species of fruit flies that pose significant threats to various fruits and vegetables. These fruit flies lay their eggs in the flesh of fruits, and the larvae feed inside, causing the fruit to rot and drop prematurely. Here are the two main species of fruit flies found in Australia and their visual descriptions:
- Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni)
The Queensland fruit fly is approximately 5-8 mm long, with a reddish-brown body. The abdomen is adorned with yellow markings and stripes, and the wings have a distinctive, faint, dark marking on the tip. The eyes are a striking red-orange colour. This fruit fly species is found mainly in eastern Australia and is considered a significant pest of fruit and vegetable crops.
- Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata)
The Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, is slightly smaller than the Queensland fruit fly, measuring about 3.5-5 mm long. It has a pale brown to yellowish-brown body with dark markings on the thorax and several black and white bands on the abdomen. The wings have a unique pattern of dark bands, with one band forming a distinct curve. Medfly is primarily found in Western Australia, where it poses a significant threat to fruit production.
Control measures for fruit flies:
Monitoring: Regularly inspect fruit and vegetable plants for signs of fruit fly infestations, such as puncture marks, eggs, or larvae. Early detection can help you implement control measures before the infestation becomes severe.
Sanitation: Remove and dispose of any fallen or infested fruit to reduce breeding sites for fruit flies. Regularly harvest ripe fruit to avoid attracting fruit flies.
Trapping: Use fruit fly traps, such as protein bait traps or sticky traps, to monitor and control fly populations. These traps can help you identify infestations early and prevent further damage to your crops.
Exclusion: Use fruit fly exclusion bags or fine mesh netting to protect fruit and vegetables from fruit fly infestations. Ensure the bags or netting are securely sealed to prevent fruit flies from entering.
Chemical control: If fruit fly populations are high and causing significant damage, you can apply protein baits or insecticides labelled for fruit fly control, if necessary. Always follow the label instructions and consider the potential impact on non-target insects and pollinators.
By understanding the different species of fruit flies in Australia and their visual characteristics, you can better target your pest control efforts and maintain a healthy and productive garden.