Tasmania's best defence against another incursion of Queensland fruit fly is simple - it's cooler weather.
As winter approaches and apple producers plough through their season, the peak body for fruit growers has urged the importance of the state retaining its fruit fly free status, amidst the uncertainty around exports.
"The viability and growth of our fruit sector rely on maintaining our biosecurity and pest free area status, and growers, the public and the government have a vital role to play," Fruit Growers Tasmania chief executive Peter Cornish said.
An incursion of Queensland Fruit Fly in 2018 threatened to close markets for fruit growers and their exports and triggered a large scale response by government departments DPIPWE and Biosecurity Tasmania.
A single male fruit fly found in Launceston in February did not count as an outbreak and since then there have been no new detections of the fly.
Tasmanian Agriculture Minister Guy Barnett recently reaffirmed Tasmania was still fruit fly free since that detection.
There are more than 1000 permanent fruit fly traps placed around Tasmania. The traps are checked weekly during a high-risk period from October to March and then fortnightly through the cooler months.
As Tasmania has entered those cooler months, the risk for fruit fly incursions becomes less likely, as fruit fly can't survive in those temperatures.
A strategy released by DPIPWE regarding the management of fruit fly in Tasmania says because of the state's five-month cool window, a population of fruit fly would be "transient at best."
Mr Cornish said the robustness of the program gave fruit growers confidence in their exports even during the coronavirus pandemic.
"As we begin our apple exports for the year during a very difficult trading environment, it has never been more important to confirm Tasmania's Pest Free Area status. This underpins the high quality of Tasmania's fruit."
A DPIPWE spokesperson said the department continued to work closely with producers on biosecurity messaging, not just for fruit fly but for a range of known pests, diseases and weeds.
The spokesperson said the department was monitoring the situation and had developed a long term strategy to protect against further incursions.
"Our current strategy involves a number of different pre-border, border and post-border processes. These are in a continual state of review in response to any changes in the risk profile for fruit fly," they said.
"It is important to remember that in any biosecurity system, risk cannot be reduced to zero, so everyone needs to remain vigilant in terms of fruit fly in Tasmania."
Coronavirus has not impacted on the department's response to fruit fly and inspectors have been able to maintain all required border checks of produce, freight and visitors during the health crisis.