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Sterile flies being used to combat Qfly in southern suburbs

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 22. April 2021 - 10:15
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will be using sterile fruit flies to eradicate any potential remaining Queensland fruit fly in Coolbellup and surrounding areas.

The Quarantine Area Notice (QAN), which has been in place since 8 January 2021, was renewed in March to support additional baiting and surveillance work, after a single male Qfly was trapped in the area at the end of February.

This work has now been successfully completed and there have been no further detections of Qfly in the area.

Starting from next week, three million sterile fruit flies will be reared using the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and released each week over a six-week period, totalling 18 million fruit flies.

The technique works by interrupting the breeding cycle. Sterile insects mate with wild Qfly, resulting in infertile eggs and no future hatchings of fruit fly larvae.
 
DPIRD successfully used the technique to eradicate any remaining Qfly in Perth’s western suburbs in January this year.
 
Department Chief Plant Biosecurity Officer Sonya Broughton said to date there had been 292 properties visited, 178 properties baited and no further Qfly had been detected in the Quarantine Area since the end of February.
 
“We thank the community for their support of the Qfly surveillance and baiting campaign and for continuing to follow the Quarantine Area Notice (QAN) restrictions,” Dr Broughton said.
 
“This next phase of the campaign using the Sterile Insect Technique will help us to eradicate any remaining Qfly if they exist in the area.
 
“Residents may notice more activity in the area over the next few weeks as the sterile flies are released.
 
“They are not a nuisance pest for people or pets, but if anyone does have any questions or concerns they can contact DPIRD’s Pest and Disease Information Service.”
 
The QAN remains in place for Coolbellup and parts of Bibra Lake, Hamilton Hill, Kardinya, North Lake and Samson and restrictions still apply for the movement of fruit and fruiting vegetables such as tomato, capsicum and chilli.
 
Qfly is a damaging pest, which, if it became established in Western Australia, would severely impact the State’s horticultural industries, growers’ businesses and access to markets for fruit and fruiting vegetables.
 
Importantly for residents in the Quarantine Area, it could attack home-grown fruit and vegetables.
 
For more information, including a list of Qfly host fruit and fruiting vegetables visit agric.wa.gov.au/qflyupdate
 
Residents and businesses can also contact the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080 or padis@dpird.wa.gov.au
Residents in Coolbellup and surrounding areas will see this Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development vehicle over the next few weeks releasing sterile insects as part of the Qfly eradication campaign.
Residents in Coolbellup and surrounding areas will see this Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development vehicle over the next few weeks releasing sterile insects as part of the Qfly eradication campaign.
Media contact: Megan Broad/Katrina Bowers, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937