Proactive activities undertaken by commercial growers and the community to control the spread of Queensland fruit fly (Qfly), contribute to the success of the eradication effort, for the benefit of the whole Riverland Pest Free Area.

Such activities are in addition to adhering to movement requirements for sending and receiving winegrapes, and washdown of machinery and equipment to minimise movement of grape berries.

South Australia is running an integrated approach to manage the current fruit fly incursions in the Riverland. PIRSA’s current eradication efforts and protective measures include:

  • Installing fruit fly traps.
  • Checking fruit and vegetables on properties for larvae.
  • Removing and cleaning up fallen fruit and vegetables.
  • Treating soil under infested trees/vines.
  • Applying bait to fruit trees, ornamental and native trees.
  • Releasing sterile flies.

What voluntary activities can you do as a commercial winegrape grower to assist eradication efforts?

  1. For vineyards located inside a red outbreak area and more than 200m away from a confirmed fruit fly detection site – you can volunteer to apply Naturalure PIRSA-supplied fruit fly bait as part of a self-baiting program.
  1. Attract and Kill Devices (AKDs) – of the type Male Annihilation Technique (MAT) cup, designed to reduce the male fruit fly population. These contain an attractant (lure), and maldison insecticide as the toxicant. AKDs are required to be monitored monthly, and recommended to be replaced every 3 months. The location of any AKDs installed must be advised to PIRSA. AKDs are not recommended for application to vine rows given likely damage by machinery, however, any treelines surrounding your vineyard may be suitable.
  1. For vineyards inside the Fruit Fly Affected Area (red and yellow areas) you can proactively manage unsold grape crops by:
  • Machine harvesting onto the ground to aid rapid desiccation of the grapes.
  • Beating the grapes hard to maximise damage to the berries, as only whole berries are considered fruit fly host material.
  • Setting up the harvester to spread the harvested grapes out over the vineyard floor.
  • Conducting this harvesting as early as possible in the grape ripening phase.
  • Conducting harvesting during daylight hours, so sunlight and heat rapidly begin the desiccation process.
  1. If you have non-commercial fruit trees around your vineyard office or in your backyard:
  • Harvest the ripe fruit.
  • Pick up fallen fruit.
  • Consider hanging fruit fly baits (AKDs) in these trees.

For assistance with all aspects of the self-baiting program, contact PIRSA’s Riverland Fruit Fly Coordinator Peter Rattray on 0487 394 813.

Participating in the self-baiting program does not negate your need to comply with movement requirements for each load of grapes leaving your vineyard for processing. However, if your vineyard is in an outbreak area and you are delivering your grapes to a winery also in an outbreak area, or in a suspension area, there is one vineyard certification option available to you (OPTION 4) on the basis of baits or MAT cups having been applied in accordance with self-baiting program requirements.

Pest background

Qfly feed on the fungus and bacteria found on the underside of leaves and on trunks. These food sources are predominantly found on perennial plants including shelter belts. Qfly will also seek shelter in these areas where they will emerge to find host plant material to lay eggs.

While grapevines are a non-preferred host for Qfly, this pest is highly adaptable and will turn to non-preferred hosts, including grapevines, if a preferred host is unavailable. Qfly can lay their eggs in grapes and any fungal pathogens affecting grape bunches can act as a protein food source for Qfly.

Vinehealth Australia thanks PIRSA for provision of the above information.