Biosecurity alerts: Queensland fruit fly updates

Queensland fruit fly is not present in Western Australia, but is occasionally detected and requires an eradication response to contain and prevent further spread.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development acts quickly to respond to incursions by implementing an eradication program according to the Australian Fruit Fly Code of Practice, which includes the establishment of Outbreak Zones, a Quarantine Area and a Suspension Zone.

Refer below for updates on current and previous eradication programs.

May 2018 - outbreak

Location: Como

Status: Eradication program underway

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has detected a number of male Queensland fruit flies (Qfly) in the Perth suburb of Como. The Qfly were detected in a residential area, and there continues to be no recent detections in any commercial fruit or vegetable production areas.

The department is making every effort to contain this most recent outbreak and prevent any spread. 

This includes a Quarantine Area Notice (QAN) which came into effect on 5 May 2018. A new QAN with extended boundaries comes into effect on 19 May 2018, including all or parts of Como, Bentley, South Perth, Karawara and Kensington (see map).

Other eradication program activities, including baiting and surveilance, are outlined below.

We need the help of the local community

Home-grown fruit and vegetables cannot be moved out of the Quarantine Area, and must be disposed of according to strict guidelines.

Nobody wants Qfly in Western Australia. To eradicate this pest we need the participation and support of residents and businesses within the Quarantine Area as we carry out our response activities.

We thank you in advance for your support - in particular by accomodating repeated property visits for baiting and surveillance, and complying with movement and disposal restrictions on fruit and vegetables.

The department is exploring all avenues to remove pathways through which Qfly can spread to other areas. This includes:

  • Community gardens and public property where fruit trees are located. If within the Quarantine Area, the same rules apply to fruit and vegetables grown on these properties.
  • Online trading of fruit. Many properties have an excess of citrus at this time of year. The department is appealing to sellers located within the Quarantine Area to remove their advertisements until further notice.
  • Home gardeners and gardening contractors are being urged to ensure that greenwaste is not disposed of before being stripped of fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables must then be disposed of according to disposal guidelines.

If you suspect fruit fly in your garden call the department via the reporting options below.

Eradication program

As part of the eradication program, DPIRD has established three zones (see map). Different restrictions apply to each zone.

  • 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.

Outbreak zone (information for residents and businesses)

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Applying Qfly bait to host plants

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. 

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) will be published in the West Australian on Saturday 5 May 2018 and in the Southern Gazette on Tuesday 8 May 2018. It applies to all or parts of Como and surrounding suburbs.

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 mid-October 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. While this is not a significant commercial fruit or vegetable production area, the department will work with industry to assess whether any growers or packing houses may be impacted.

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

Industry can be assured the department is making every effort to contain this most recent outbreak and prevent any spread. The department has acted quickly to implement an eradication program according to the Australian Fruit Fly Code of Practice.

To date an additional 35 traps have been placed in the Outbreak Zones, which are being checked twice-weekly.

Further industry information, including successful market access negotiations, will be provided direct to your industry groups.

Disposal guidelines if you have trees full of fruit

The Quarantine Area Notice stipulates that ripening and fallen fruit must be disposed of every three days. Regular removal of fruit means that fruit fly will be unable to lay eggs and start the breeding cycle. Disposing of fruit and vegetables according to the guidelines below will kill any eggs or larvae.

Where fruit is inaccessible, wait until it has fallen to the ground and then dispose of accordingly. 

Disposal options include:

  • Eating or cooking (boil or microwave).
  • Freezing (minimum 24 hours).
  • Solarising - place in a sealed, heavy-duty black plastic bag which is placed in direct sunlight for three days.
  • Soaking - place in a bucket or large container of water with a film of white oil for at least seven days.
  • Burying to a depth of at least 1 metre as Qfly adults can emerge from under the soil surface.
  • Do not give away any home-grown fruit or vegetables.

Only after boiling, solarising or freezing you can:

  • Feed it to poultry.
  • Compost it.
  • Put in the rubbish.

Making traps and bait at home

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Home-made fruit fly traps

The community can also participate by making a fruit fly trap. Making a trap is an easy and cost effective way of finding out if you have fruit flies on your property. You can also purchase a safe and organic foliar bait mixture to spray on your trees and prevent infestation.

For instructions, refer to the make-a-trap flyer and Medfly management video (also applicable to Qfly).

If you catch any fruit flies in your traps send a photo via our reporting options.

The department is keen to know about other fruit flies in the area, even if you think it might be Medfly, which is endemic in Perth. Qfly can be easily mistaken for Medfly, although Qfly is larger and reddish brown and has clear wings. 

Reporting options

About Qfly

Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) is a serious pest of fruit and vegetables. Qfly have clear wings unlike Medfly which have brown bands on their wings.
Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) is a serious pest of fruit and vegetables. Qfly have clear wings unlike Medfly which have brown bands on their wings.

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.

Go to the Qfly web page for more information, including description.

Qfly host list

See the Quarantine Area Notice for a full host list.

January 2018 - eradicated

Location: Fremantle and parts of North Fremantle, East Fremantle and White Gum Valley

status: As of 19 April 2018, the Quarantine Area Notice applying to Fremantle and parts of North Fremantle, East Fremantle and White Gum Valley, and the suspension of Qfly Area Freedom within a 15km radius of the detection have been lifted.

outcome: Eradicated

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and horticultural growers would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who cooperated and assisted in the eradication campaign.

This was very much a community response and containment of this pest would not have been possible without the willing participation of the community. In particular thank you for complying with movement restrictions and accommodating repeated property visits. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We would like to thank local businesses, community gardens, markets, local government and other community groups for their support of our eradication activities, and willingness to distribute information to maximise awareness amongst the community.

The department is also grateful for the support of industry, which is always vital to achieving a successful outcome.

Related documentation

Page last updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2018 - 4:50pm