If your vineyard is within 200m of a confirmed fruit fly outbreak ‘epicentre’ in the Riverland, you may be interested in what strategies will be employed by PIRSA teams around your vineyard to combat fruit fly. This article outlines some of the strategies that may be undertaken.

Bait application

PIRSA teams use Naturalure bait in the red outbreak areas. This is applied once a week, for six weeks after the last detection. Naturalure is an organic bait containing 0.24g/L spinosad, which is applied as a spray. PIRSA baiting teams will spray strainer posts and some vine trunks with the premixed bait, as well as any windbreaks surrounding the vineyard that may be present. They will also visit for 12 weeks to collect any fallen fruit and check for signs of fruit fly.

The PIRSA team visiting your property will leave a calling card after each visit, so that individual arrangements can be made if you need them. To set up an arrangement, you can speak with our field supervisor on site or contact the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010.

Trap application

PIRSA applies two groups of fruit fly traps:

  • Inside the Pest Free Area: a grid of permanent monitoring lure traps that remain in place regardless of any fruit fly outbreak. In the event of an outbreak, PIRSA teams increase the number of monitoring traps present, using a range of additional trap types.
  • Attract and Kill Devices (AKDs) of which there are three types: MAT (Male Annihilation Technique) cups, Cera Traps or Bio traps. These traps are not monitored and usually last for three months before they need to be replaced.

It is important to note that neither permanent nor lure traps are placed in grapevines.

SIT release

Each week, 40 million sterile Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) pupae are produced at PIRSA’s Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) Facility in Port Augusta. These pupae are irradiated by X-ray at this facility for six minutes to sterilise them. The sterile pupae are then delivered to a sister facility in Barmera where they emerge as adult fruit flies and are transported to the aerodrome for packing into the SIT release plane. The plane or vehicle then releases the 40 million adult flies into a specific segment of the outbreak area. This activity makes it hard for wild fruit flies to meet each other and breed.

For the purpose of SIT release, the Riverland outbreak area has been divided into seven segments. SIT flies are released over each segment for a period of six weeks. The SIT plane flies three times each day with cargo of two to three million flies. Each flight takes between 30 to 60 minutes, and the plane will fly at between 600 and 700 feet.


PIRSA fruit fly teams visiting your property in an outbreak area will leave a contact card after each visit. The purpose of such a card is to provide contact details for a resident or property owner, to initiate a conversation should they wish to make individual arrangements with PIRSA for future visits. To set up an arrangement, you can either speak with a field supervisor onsite, or contact the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010. It is recommended that you make these individual arrangements with PIRSA to discuss issues including onsite hazards (e.g., machinery operation, recent spray application, weeds) and visitor sign in.

Each property visit by a PIRSA team is logged, with site visit notes entered into an online system. This includes the time, address, and an activity log. Such data contributes to declarations of new outbreaks, proof of activities undertaken, and facilitates operational reviews and reporting.

General biosecurity practices

Team briefings for PIRSA fruit fly operational staff include the requirements to observe best practice farm biosecurity and adhere to individual property arrangements.

PIRSA staff will contact the site manager in instances where a biosecurity sign exists at the property entrance to dictate visitor sign in, or if prior arrangements have been made to do so.

PIRSA staff are aware that headlands in particular, can be a source of weed seeds, e.g., caltrop. The fruit fly teams regularly check vehicle tyres for weed seeds and burrs, and soil. They also check footwear and clothing to ensure they are free from soil and plant material before and after entering properties.

Vinehealth Australia thanks PIRSA for providing this information to assist growers in understanding the breadth of activities being undertaken as part of the Riverland fruit fly eradication efforts. Further information can be found here.