Sterile fruit flies released to help protect hort sector

Sterile fruit flies released to help protect hort sector in SA

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PROTECTED: South Australia' $1.3 billion fruit and vegetable sector will benefit from the release of 100 million sterile fruit flies to contain eight outbreaks in suburban Adelaide. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

PROTECTED: South Australia' $1.3 billion fruit and vegetable sector will benefit from the release of 100 million sterile fruit flies to contain eight outbreaks in suburban Adelaide. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

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Millions of sterile fruit flies will be released in fruit fly hotspots in the coming weeks.

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CLOSE to 100 million sterile fruit flies will be released in some fruit fly hotspots in the coming weeks to help contain and eradicate eight existing outbreaks in the Adelaide suburbs.

Sterile Insect Technology flies will be unleashed on outbreaks in Blair Athol, Croydon Park, Angle Park, Rosewater, Semaphore Park, Pooraka, Campbelltown and Klemzig - impacting more than 250 suburbs across Adelaide.

SA Primary Industries and Regional Development minister, David Basham, said the use of SIT flies was a key weapon in helping to eradicate the metropolitan outbreaks.

"With eight outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide we must use every tool at our disposal to defend against this devastating plant pest," he said.

"The use of SIT flies has played an important role in eradicating previous fruit fly outbreaks in SA.

"It is expected the release of 100m sterile flies will help to knock out the Mediterranean fruit fly population in Adelaide as we come into the warmer, more active months for fruit flies."

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Mr Basham said it was important to eradicate fruit fly to protect the state's $1.3 billion vulnerable horticulture industry.

"The clean-up of ripe fruit across the suburbs and organic pesticide has reduced the wild fly population and now the IT is being brought in to wipe out any remaining wild flies in the outbreak areas," he said.

"Once released, the SIT flies mate with any remaining wild flies, with millions of sterile flies they simply overwhelm the wild fly population.

"We have eight outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide impacting suburbs from the beach to the hills and from Cross Road to the northern suburbs and we need to do everything we can to get rid of this pest."

Mr Basham said the fruit fly pest free status provided an important marketing advantage and enable the reduction of pesticide use and costly treatments.

"Not only can fruit fly be devastating for our primary producers but as we are seeing right now it has a huge impact on everyday backyard growers," he said.

"If you notice anything unusual in your fruit, please seal it in an airtight container and call the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010.

"We appreciate the ongoing co-operation of residents in the impacted areas to get on top of these fruit fly outbreaks."

Quarantine restrictions in affected areas are due to be lifted without further detections by December 2020.

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