WET and warm conditions across Victoria have created favourable conditions for Queensland fruit fly to breed, experts warn.
Home gardeners are being encouraged to act now to protect their homegrown fruits and vegetables.
Agriculture Victoria statewide fruit fly coordinator Cathy Mansfield said despite predicted La Nina weather patterns which are ideal for fruit fly, gardeners still had time to protect their produce.
"Last summer during the La Nina, many home gardeners were surprised to find that Queensland fruit fly had damaged their fruit and veggies," she said.
"This year we know the same climatic conditions are coming so everyone has the chance to get a step ahead."
The Bureau of Meteorology has advised there is a 70 per cent chance of a La Nia forming in the coming months, which is roughly three times the normal likelihood of an event forming in any other year.
"Queensland fruit fly is most active from September to May, so as the weather heats up, home gardeners, landholders and those with a few trees or a veggie patch should be on the lookout for and know how to manage it," Ms Mansfield said.
"Netting is by far the most effective way to protect your trees which would have just finished blossoming and being pollinated - so now is the time to get your netting up."
Queensland fruit fly attacks a wide range of fruit and vegetables including tomatoes, stonefruit, citrus, cherries, berries and grapes.
When fruit flies make contact with fruit to lay eggs, a "sting mark", often the size of the top of a pin, is left which can be easily missed unless checked carefully.
Once stung, fruit will start to rot internally.
"Fruit fly maggots are often found in the centre of the fruit, are five to 10 millimetres long and creamy-white in colour," she said.
Sign up here to Good Fruit and Vegetables weekly newsletter for all the latest horticulture news each Thursday...
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.