Queensland fruit fly could survive a Tasmanian winter.
Tasmanians have been assured Queensland fruit fly – the species responsible for the state’s fruit fly incursion – would not survive cold winter conditions, but research shows it is possible.
Hort Innovation’s national five-year SITplus project was set up to develop an integrated pest management solution to Queensland fruit fly using Sterile Insect Technique.
SITplus director Dan Ryan said project staff had looked at climate change and how weather conditions could make some areas more conducive for Queensland fruit fly habitation, including Tasmania.
“Mildura has fruit fly surviving; there is certainly a risk it could survive the [Tasmanian] winter," Mr Ryan said.
Journal Scientific Reports published the SITplus report on Queensland fruit fly habitats, with authors stating that Queensland fruit fly was “the most economically damaging insect pest of Australia’s horticultural industry”.
An update from Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment department shows 24 adult fruit flies have now been detected within control zones at Flinders Island (21 flies) and Spreyton (three flies).
The number of infected sites remains at four.
Tasmania’s fruit fly free status is dependent on how quickly fruit flies can be eradicated.
“It would be an inconvenient incident, but not an ongoing issue,” Mr Ryan said.
“Biosecurity Tasmania has gone into eradication mode. Both South Australia and Western Australia have done it successfully several times. You would hope Biosecurity Tasmania would be successful,” he said.
Besides Biosecurity Tasmania’s eradication and surveillance efforts, Mr Ryan said the public had a role to play.
“It is important for the public to understand that just one piece of fruit can have an impact,” he said.
“If they move an infected piece of fruit they can have a huge impact. The public bringing fruit in is certainly a major factor in this.
“Fruit fly has two impacts: on production through loss of fruit, but the big impact is market access,” Mr Ryan said.
Visit dpipwe.tas.gov.au/fruitfly for more information about fruit fly.