Biosecurity alert - Queensland fruit fly detection in Fremantle

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is responding to the detection of an adult female Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) in a department surveillance trap.

Qfly is a destructive fruit pest which attacks a wide range of fruits and some fruiting vegetables.

The department has responded quickly with an eradication program to prevent any potential spread of the pest. This includes fruit and vegetable movement restrictions for Fremantle, and parts of East Fremantle, North Fremantle and White Gum Valley, and surveillance and baiting operations close to the detection point.

An adult female Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) was found on 24 January 2018 in a Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) surveillance trap, in a residential area just east of the Fremantle CBD.

The detection was made in a surveillance trap that forms part of DPIRD's early warning fruit fly trapping system. Over 1900 traps across the Perth metropolitan area are regularly monitored, to assist in proving WA’s Area Freedom from Qfly and to provide an early warning against the pest.

The Department has officially informed other jurisdictions and the Commonwealth of the detection and that DPIRD is implementing a response in accordance with Australia’s Fruit Fly Code of Practice.

It is important to note there have been no recent Qfly detections in any commercial fruit or vegetable production areas.

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

Eradication program activities

As part of the eradication program, DPIRD has established three zones (see map):

  • An Outbreak Zone around a 200m radius of the detection point.
  • A Quarantine Area around a 1.5km radius of the detection point.
  • A Suspension Area around a 15km radius of the detection point.

Different restrictions apply to each area. Support and participation from residents and businesses in these areas is vital to successful eradication.

Outbreak zone (information for residents and businesses)

Within the Outbreak Zone, additional traps have been deployed and are being checked regularly. DPIRD has been making contact with owners/occupiers to get access to private properties with host trees, to inspect fruit and carry out baiting. Host street trees are also being baited. Trees are being baited with organic insecticide Naturalure™.

Where owners/occupiers are not home, a contact card is being left, with details on how to make an appointment with DPIRD officers to return and carry out baiting.

DPIRD officers will be clearly identifiable by uniform and will carry photo identification. Support staff will also carry photo ID.

Quarantine Area (information for residents and businesses)

A Quarantine Area Notice (QAN) was published in the West Australian on Saturday 3 February 2018 and in the Fremantle/Cockburn Gazette on Tuesday 6 February 2018. It will also appear in the Fremantle/Cockburn Herald on Saturday 10 February 2018. It applies to all of Fremantle, and parts of East Fremantle, North Fremantle and White Gum Valley.

The Quarantine Area Notice (QAN) instructs the following:

  • Non-commercial and home-grown fruit must not be taken out of the Quarantine Area unless it has been cooked or processed, or approved by the DPIRD Director General.
  • Ensure any ripening fruit or vegetables on host plants, or any fruit that has fallen to the ground is removed and disposed of every three days.
  • The fruit can be disposed of by eating, cooking (boil or microwave), freezing or securing in a sealed heavy duty black plastic bag which is placed in direct sunlight for a period of three days. This should kill any flies or larvae before disposing of in regular bins.
  • Do not place untreated fruit or vegetables into compost.
  • Do not give your fruit and vegetables away.

Under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013, failure to comply with movement restrictions can result in fines. We are appealing to residents to do the right thing in supporting WA’s horticultural industries.

The QAN will remain in place until 18 April 2018. It may be extended if any further flies are detected. Residents in the Quarantine Area will be notified when the response program concludes.

Suspension Area (information for producers and industry)

Area Freedom for susceptible hosts within the 15km Suspension Area has been suspended, meaning host fruit cannot be exported from within this area without treatment or other approved protocol. There are no known commercial producers for host fruit and vegetables within the Suspension Area.

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

Further industry information will be provided to relevant fruit and vegetable industry bodies.

About Qfly

Qfly is regarded to be a more serious pest than the endemic Medfly for a number of reasons including:

  • Qfly attacks a wider range of commercial and native trees, vine fruits, fruit and solanaceous fruiting vegetables such as eggplant, tomato, capsicum and chili.
  • Qfly can attack fruits and some fruiting vegetables at an earlier maturity stage.
  • More insecticide may need to be applied to fruits and vegetables.

Host list

See the Quarantine Area Notice for a full host list.

Qfly description

Adult Qfly are:

  • Approximately 6-8 mm long.
  • Have three body segments, wings and 6 legs.
  • The head has two red eyes with two very short antennae (only visible under close inspection).
  • The thorax (middle segment) is reddish-brown with yellow patches on the sides and back.
  • The abdomen (end segment) is a solid dark brown, and the legs are a lighter shade of brown.
  • The wings are clear.
  • Qfly are usually seen on the undersides of leaves or on maturing fruit.
  • Refer to the Qfly web pages for more information.

Don't confuse Qfly for Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly), which is smaller (approximately 3-5mm long). Qfly have clear wings. Medfly wings are transparent and mottled, with distinct pale brown bands extending to the wing tips.

See our Qfly and Medfly web pages for descriptions. 

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080
Page last updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2018 - 11:38am