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AUSTRALIA 2015 - 2016 MANGO SEASON : Sunraysia households urged to join fruit fly fight

AUGUST 18, 2015 12:14PM

Backyard solution: Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area chief executive John Tesoriero with the fruit fly traps that will be used in a mass trapping program across Sunraysia. 
Picture: supplied

HOUSEHOLDS in Mildura, Wentworth, Swan Hill and Robinvale are being urged to get behind the biggest fruit fly trapping exercise ever undertaken in Australia.

The mass trapping aims to saturate urban areas with traps for male and female Queensland fruit fly in a concerted campaign to reduce numbers and damage from the devastating horticultural pest.

The Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Committee is coordinating the campaign.

This comes after a successful trial held at Swan Hill last year.

“Our aim is to have the non-invasive traps in every residential garden in the urban areas,” committee chairman Paul Grigg said.

“It’s a huge task, but we know from the initial Swan Hill experience last year and repeated during July, that strong community cooperation will achieve impressive results in reducing fruit fly numbers.

“Many of our towns and urban areas in the Pest Free Area now have microclimates that are conducive to the flies’ breeding and survival.”

An education program will be developed for schools to promote the fruit fly message, and strengthen “the link between farms and the community”.

The Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area includes the horticultural areas from Mildura and Wentworth to Kerang in northwest Victoria.

Since March, the PFA Committee has collected and administered a $3-a-tonne levy from citrus, stone fruit and table grapes to fund services aimed at reinstating and maintaining the PFA.

The PFA lost its “pest free” status last year after the number of fruit fly detections spiraled out of control and the government decided to suspend the PFA while it conducted eradication works. The pest-free status is yet to be reinstated.

The Victorian Government wound back its fruit fly programs in 2012.

The former Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh argued it was a better use of ­taxpayers’ money to tackle “new” pests, rather than “something you cannot control (fruit fly)”.

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