Teachers at Penrhos College in Como have embraced being in a Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) Quarantine Area, using it as a student learning exercise on destructive invasive pests.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is working to eradicate the pest following the detection of male Qfly in its surveillance traps in Como in May.
A Quarantine Area has been declared for Como and surrounding suburbs, incorporating the Penrhos campus.
Department biosecurity manager Rosalie McCauley said the College was setting a great example of how the local community can help with the eradication effort by complying with the quarantine restrictions.
“There are restrictions in place to stop the movement of fruit and vegetables outside of the Quarantine Area to make sure there is no chance of moving infested fruit and spreading Qfly,” Dr McCauley said.
“The movement restrictions and fruit disposal requirements will remain in place until at least November 2018.
“Fortunately we have not detected any further Qfly since May, but we need to stay vigilant as Qfly can breed over winter in citrus fruits.”
Dr McCauley said Penhros was implementing a number of initiatives to support the program that could be easily adopted by other local schools, businesses and residents.
“Penrhos is using a solarisation program to dispose properly of fruit, with dedicated bins lined with black bags, as part of the Quarantine Area guidelines,” she said.
“All fallen or unwanted fruit should be disposed of in a heavy-duty dark plastic bag, and placed in direct sunlight for at least three days to kill any potential larvae. There are also other options such as cooking and freezing.”
Dr McCauley said Penrhos was close to the original detection point and has fruit trees on the property. Department staff visited the school early in the eradication program.
“From day one, Penrhos has been wholly supportive of our program and are using it to teach students about the quarantine rules and eradication work,” Dr McCauley said.
“This has included regular spray baiting of citrus trees on the site, and working with the College’s groundskeeper to keep an eye out for evidence of fruit fly.
“Advice was also sent out to parents, very early in the campaign, that fruit brought to school for lunches could not be taken home.”
Dr McCauley said it was important the department and community continued to work together to protect WA’s valuable horticultural industries, and the quality of home grown fruit and vegetables.
“Community support for regular baiting of trees and surveillance is vital, and we thank Como residents who have enabled us to access to their properties on a regular basis,” she said.
“We encourage anyone who has received a letter from the department about baiting to get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can continue our work.”
You can check if you are within the Outbreak Zone and Quarantine Area on the department’s website agric.wa.gov.au/qflyupdate. Web pages also include more information on disposal and a full list of Qfly host fruit and vegetables.
Residents who suspect they have seen Qfly or have fruit that is not normally infested with fruit fly can call the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080. Alternatively photos can be uploaded via the department’s MyPestGuideTM Reporter app (Google Play Store and Apple iTunes Store), or by email to email@example.com
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937