Biosecurity alerts: Queensland fruit fly updates

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is currently responding to an outbreak of Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) in Perth's western suburbs.

Qfly is exotic to Western Australia.

An eradication program is underway to help prevent the spread of this pest, which includes surveillance and baiting activities, and establishment of a Quarantine Area. Residents and businesses within the Quarantine Area MUST comply with host fruit movement and management requirements.

Residents can find out more about the eradication program and how they can assist below.

The Department has recently commenced its next phase towards eradicating Qfly – the Spring baiting program which is an intensive Qfly baiting and surveillance program. It runs from September through to December.

The Department Qfly Quarantine Area has also been expanded north of the current boundary, to include another 923 hectares and five new suburbs – Mount Claremont, Shenton Park, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Crawley. This includes the University of WA, Irwin Barracks, Lake Claremont and Karakatta cemetery.

This is in addition to the original 1130ha Quarantine Area (QA) over Dalkeith and parts of Nedlands and Claremont. The newly expanded QA will encompass about 15,000 properties.

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Queensland fruit fly Quarantine Area 10 July 2020

The QA has been increased due to detections close to the QA border. To prevent further spread, the larger QA will enable surveillance in these new detection areas, as well as the introduction of host fruit management and movement requirements. It is critical to eradication then that residents in the expanded QA comply with these requirements, which are detailed in the Qfly Quarantine Area Notice.

The Department is now tackling its largest Qfly outbreak since WA’s very first Qfly incursion in 1989. Personnel dedicated to the response has been increased significantly to meet the demands of regular property inspections, and baiting and surveillance activities.  

Qfly is the most important economic pest of the Australian horticultural industries. Freedom from Qfly allows Western Australia (WA) to meet national and international requirements for market access of host produce. If the Qfly eradication is not successful, WA will lose access to international markets, which recognise that WA is free from Qfly, including such markets as avocados to Japan.

What do I need to know?

If you live in the Quarantine Area, you must comply with the below. By following these simple steps, we will remove all possibility of Qfly being able to breed, spread and establish in WA.

Movement

  1. Do not take Qfly host fruit* out of the Quarantine Area, unless it has been cooked, frozen for 24 hours, or solarised - even if you are planning to eat it on arrival (school, work, friend's house etc).  
  2. Do not give away host fruit to people who live outside of the Quarantine Area.

Management

  1. Pick all host ripe or ripening fruit from your trees and plants, and pick up all fallen host fruit every three days.
  2. Strip all branches of host fruit before disposing of them as green waste. 

Disposal

  1. Eat or treat (cook, freeze or solarise - see below for clarification).
  2. Bag ALL treated host fruit before disposal.
  3. Bagged and treated host fruit must go in the general waste bin - NOT in the green waste bin.

Qfly hosts and suspect hosts are listed in the Quarantine Area Notice.

How was Qfly detected?

Qfly was detected by DPIRD through its permanent grid of approximately 2000 surveillance lure traps located across the Perth metropolitan area.

A number of male Qfly were first detected in late March 2020 in Dalkeith, and additional Qfly lure traps were placed around detection points to determine the spread of the outbreak. Further male Qfly were subsequently detected in Claremont and Nedlands.

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

What types of fruit does Qfly affect?

Qfly is considered to be one of Australia's most serious fruit pests, with a wider host range than the endemic Medfly. Hosts of Qfly, which includes some fruiting vegetables, are listed in the Quarantine Area Notice.

The Qfly host list is extensive, including – but not limited to - backyard favourites such as citrus, bananas, stone fruit, olives, tomatoes, avocado, mango, passionfruit, tomato, capsicum and chillies.

What is the Qfly eradication program?

DPIRD’s Qfly eradication program includes baiting and surveillance activities, and the establishment of an Outbreak Zone, a Quarantine Area, and a Suspension Area. This eradication program is being managed in accordance with the national Code of Practice for Management of Queensland Fruit Fly 1996.

What is the Quarantine Area?

The Quarantine Area covers a 1.5km radius from where Qfly have been detected, and will be in place until further notice.

In this current eradication program, the first Quarantine Area Notice (QAN) published on 3 April 2020 declared a Quarantine Area over all of Dalkeith, and parts of Claremont and Nedlands. The second QAN published on 10 July 2020 expanded the Quarantine Area to include Mount Claremont, Shenton Park, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Crawley.

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Queensland fruit fly Quarantine Area 10 July 2020

The area bordered by and including the river line south of Crawley Steps, along the river line to the river line east of Forrest Street, north of Forrest Street, east of Railway Street, north of Eric Street, east of Curtin Avenue, east of West Coast Highway, south of Alfred Road, east of Montgomery Avenue, south of Mooro Drive, east and south of John Xxiii Avenue, east of Brockway Road, south of Lemnos Street, east of Selby Street, south east of Nash Street, under subway, south of Nicholson Road, south west of Thomas Street, west of Winthrop Avenue, south of Poole Avenue, west and south of Park Avenue, west of Forrest Drive, north west of Crawley Steps to the river line.

Note – This map may change depending on location of future Qfly detections.

Quarantine Area Notice requirements

Under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013, attempts to dispose of host material incorrectly or remove it from the Quarantine Area may result in a fine. You will be notified when regulations are lifted.

Moving Qfly host fruit 

NB. The Outbreak Zone sits inside the larger Quarantine Area, and therefore the below also applies to the Outbreak Zone. If you are in the Quarantine Area (QA):

  • DO NOT move Qfly host fruit from the QA, unless cooked, frozen for 24 hours or solarised (see disposal regulations below for more details).
  • Requirements apply even if you are taking fruit to work, school etc to be eaten there.
  • Even if host fruit has been sourced outside of the QA, it can't be taken back out again.
  • Do not give away Qfly host fruit to anyone living outside of the QA.
  • Home gardeners and gardening contractors must ensure that green waste is stripped of all host fruit before being put into green waste bins, left out for verge collection or taken to the tip. Stripped fruit must be eaten or treated (see disposal requirements below).
  • Do not undertake online trading of fruit, as you cannot guarantee the fruit will not be removed from the QA.
  • QA requirements apply to community gardens, public property and commercial premises where host fruit trees are located.

Qfly hosts and suspect hosts are listed in the Quarantine Area Notice.

Disposal of Qfly host fruit grown in the Quarantine Area

  • Ripe and ripening Qfly host fruit on plants or trees, and host fruit that has fallen to the ground must be removed and disposed of every three days.
  • Unripe host fruit can be kept on trees and plants until they start to ripen, and provided (if you are in the Outbreak Zone) Qfly response personnel have regular access to your property for eradication activities.
  • Once fruit has been removed, eat or treat through one of the following:
    • Cooking (eg. boiling or microwaving).
    • Freezing (for a minimum of 24 hours).
    • Solarising in a sealed, heavy-duty black plastic bag by placing in direct sunlight on a hard surface (for a minimum of seven days).
  • Bag and bin in the general waste bin - NOT in the green waste bin.
  • If keeping for eating, immediately refrigerate until it is consumed.

With regular removal of fruit, Qfly will not be able to lay eggs and start the breeding cycle.

Disposal guidelines extend to all parts of the fruit, so if eating or cooking dispose of host fruit and vegetable scraps/ offcuts/ peels/ rinds etc. as required above.

What is the Outbreak Zone?

The Outbreak Zone is the most critical area of the eradication program, as it is an area within 200m of a positive Qfly detection. Maps are not available at this time as this zone changes almost daily.

If you are within an Outbreak Zone, Qfly response personnel will need access to your property for eradication activities. 

  • Qfly response personnel will door knock to carry out an initial inspection. 
  • If you are not home, you will receive a Contact Card in your letterbox, requesting that you register online or contact our Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS) on 9368 3080 or padis@dpird.wa.gov.au so we can schedule a visit.
  • You may receive a Contact Card more than once. One will be left every time Qfly response personnel visit and you are not home.
  • If you receive a Contact Card, but have previously registered online, you do not need to register again - call or email PaDIS.
  • If DPIRD does not hear from you, we will call or you will be visited by Qfly response personnel. 

If you know a resident within the Outbreak Zone who has not been visited or contacted, please encourage them to do so urgently, even if they do not have host plants or plants currently in fruit.

We need to visit every property in the Outbreak Zone to determine where Qfly host plants are located, and to commence eradication activities.

By contacting DPIRD door knocking can be avoided, which might be a concern for residents due to matters relating to COVID-19. 

Qfly response personnel will be following appropriate operating procedures to ensure safe working practices in relation to COVID-19, to ensure the safety of both staff and the community.

If you see any chemical caution signs within the Outbreak Zone, do not panic. This is just to comply with current legislation and to indicate the use of Naturalure® insecticide bait, which has organic certification by the Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) Co-op Ltd. This product contains spinosad, which is a naturally derived, toxicant, produced as a fermentation by-product from a soil bacterium, Saccharopolyspora spinosa. It is organic. Refer to the Naturalure® FAQs.

What will happen when you visit my property?

  • Qfly response personnel will make an initial visit to identify or confirm you have host trees and plants with Qfly host fruit. If you have advised DPIRD you have no host plants, DPIRD will still need to visit your property to confirm.
  • During the visit Qfly response personnel will inspect host fruit for possible Qfly damage, and collect samples to determine if they contain Qfly larvae.
  • During subsequent visits (if you have host trees), DPIRD will inspect any Qfly lure traps if installed.
  • DPIRD will apply spots of bait to host tree foliage twice weekly for the first two weeks, and weekly thereafter until further notice. The bait used is a registered organic insecticide called Naturalure® (refer to Naturalure® FAQs). A small amount is applied to the trunk or foliage of Qfly host trees or shade trees (where no host trees are present) as a spot, and Qfly die on ingestion. Refer to the Naturalure® fact sheet.
  • Bait spotting will also take place on public properties and street trees.
  • DPIRD will check that all RIPENING AND RIPE Qfly host fruit on plants or trees, and all host fruit that has fallen to the ground is being removed every three days

View a video of bait application.  

Video of bait application.mp4

DPIRD requires your help to eradicate Qfly from WA by removing their ability to breed in backyard gardens, by applying baits to plants. An added benefit of the eradication activities will be providing the backyard fruit you grow this year with protection not only from Qfly, but also the already present Medfly and other fruit flies.

Refusal to allow REGULAR property access

If DPIRD is not granted access to a property to confirm that host fruit is being managed correctly, and to carry out eradication activities, DPIRD will issue a Pest Control Notice (PCN), requiring that all host fruit be stripped from all trees and plant on the premises, regardless of ripeness. Removed fruit must be diposed of as per the Quarantine Area Notice.

DPIRD personnel will conduct follow-up visits to confirm compliance with the PCN, and DPRID will take remidal action if it is found that host material on that property is not being managed correctly.

This is the only way DPIRD can ensure there is no opportunity for Qfly to breed and continue to infest surrounding properties.

COVID-19 concerns

DPIRD understands that the COVID-19 Pandemic is presenting challenges not experienced during previous Qfly eradication programs. This includes resident concerns about social distancing, and also reluctance to throw away Qfly host fruit, particularly if residents are opting to rely on their garden produce to reduce supermarket visits.

These concerns have been a priority since the start of the eradication program, with Standard Operating Procedures being developed based on national and state government health advice, including social distancing and appropriate hand sanitisation practices.

What is the Suppression Area?

Area Freedom for Qfly has been suspended within the 15km Suspension Area, meaning commercial Qfly host fruit grown within this area cannot be exported from the area without treatment or other approved protocol.

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

Has Qfly been eradicated before?

Qfly has been eradicated in Perth seven times since 1989, most recently in Como and Fremantle in 2018. DPIRD’s eradication program is carried out based on nationally agreed protocols.

This is the largest Qfly outbreak DPIRD has dealt with since the initial outbreak in Dalkeith in 1989.

Need help?

Our Pest and Disease Information Service can clarify or tailor disposal advice to achieve the best option for your property.

Call 08 9368 3080 or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au

*host fruit is listed in the QA Notice on this website.

Page last updated: Monday, 7 September 2020 - 8:55pm