South Australia is playing a vital part in helping to reduce Queensland fruit fly numbers in targeted fruit-growing areas in other states as part of nationally-coordinated efforts.
ABC Radio Country Hour reported on 4 October 2019 that millions of sterile Queensland fruit flies, bred in the state-of-the-art National Sterile Insect Facility in Port Augusta in South Australia, are being released from aircraft during spring and summer in an inaugural experiment involving a number of states.
This release will target wild female fruit fly populations in farmland and town areas of Cobram in Victoria and Hillston in NSW. This safe and non-chemical ‘birth control’ strategy, aims to ultimately create fruit fly free zones in these test areas.
With a planned release of two million sterile flies each week between now and the end of March, the effect on wild fly populations and ultimate success of the experiment will be carefully monitored by researchers on the ground. The hope is that this fruit fly control strategy will result in low numbers of wild flies at the start of spring next year.