Strawberries - not a host of Mediterranean fruit fly?

Page last updated: Friday, 9 December 2016 - 2:15pm

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A two-year research project is underway that aims to establish that commercially-grown strawberries in Western Australia are not a host of Mediterranean fruit fly. Such evidence will be valuable for sections of the industry seeking to establish and maintain interstate and overseas markets for their fruit.

Strawberries are reported in the scientific literature as a host for Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly, Ceratitis capitata). As such, they are required to have quarantine treatment prior to sale to interstate and overseas markets. However, anecdotal data suggests that strawberries are rarely a host for Medfly in the field.

This two-year project which started in 2012, aims to prove to a level of significance acceptable to our trading partners, that strawberries are not a host for Medfly in the field. These results will help WA growers access interstate markets following the suspension of use of some organophosphate chemical treatments.

Lynfield traps have been placed on properties in the Wanneroo, Bullsbrook and Albany/Mount Barker areas during the growing season (November-April). Traps are checked weekly and fruit is collected from the field and dissected to establish the presence or absence of Medfly maggots.

Fruit dissections are being carried out in the Wanneroo and Bullsbrook areas only, as these have a higher endemic Medfly population. To date more than 60 000 strawberries have been dissected, and no Medflies have been found in any of the fruit.

The project is jointly funded by DAFWA and the Agricultural Produce Commission Strawberry Producers Committee.


Sonya Broughton