Wine Industry Newsletter

Protecting our industry through pest response

Queensland fruit fly
Queensland fruit fly

Responses to exotic pest detections play an important role in protecting the State’s horticulture industries, including our table and wine grape sectors.

A recent example is the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) response to the detection of a single female Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) in the Fremantle area.   

The Qfly was discovered in a department surveillance trap in January 2018 in a residential area just east of the Fremantle CBD.

The department immediately commenced an eradication program. To date there have been no further detections.

Table grapes are regarded as a poor host for Qfly. While Qfly is able to complete development in many table grape varieties, most publications do not list table grapes as a host for Qfly, or at best an occasional host for Qfly.

Wine grapes are a different story, with damage to wine grapes indicating they are a suitable host, although not preferred. Other host fruits in the area, as well as seasonal conditions could affect their susceptibility.

Research is required to test the suitability and preference of different varieties of wine grapes versus other known Qfly host fruits.

DPIRD’s response to the Fremantle detection has included regular visits to all properties in the area surrounding the detection to bait host trees and check traps.

A Quarantine Area was also established within a 1.5km radius from the detection, which covers all of Fremantle, and parts of East and North Fremantle, and White Gum Valley. This will remain in place until 18 April 2018, provided there are no further Qfly detections.

There has been extensive communication to residents in these areas to not move home-grown fruit and vegetables to areas outside of the Quarantine Area, and of the approved methods through which ripening and fallen fruit should be regularly disposed of.

Following the detection, there was suspension of Qfly Area Freedom within a 15km radius of the detection (Suspension Area).

This means that host fruit cannot be exported from within this area without treatment or other approved protocol, although there are currently no commercial producers of host material in this area.

Western Australia’s Area Freedom from Qfly, which underpins market access for a range of produce, remains in place.

Qfly is found in parts of the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and occasionally in South Australia, and now recently in Tasmania. It attacks a wider range of fruits and fruiting vegetables than the endemic Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly). These include chillies, tomatoes, strawberries, avocados, passionfruit, capsicum and eggplants.

Host suitability and preference for Qfly varies greatly between different fruit species.

The damaging stage of Qfly is the larva, which feeds within the fruit.

Fruit can also rot through fungal decay around wounds in the fruit surface caused by the adult female stinging and laying eggs.

Fruit is most susceptible to attack as it approaches maturity.

If you suspect you have seen Qfly, or any other unusual pest, there are a number of reporting options:

Make an online report 

Use the MyPestGuideTM Reporter app 

Phone: +61 (0)8 9368 3080