Fruit Fly a community concern

Fruit fly bait in vege gardenIt’s that time of the year for our community to band together and fight against fruit fly. I would like to share with my control methods for fruitfly which have been most successful for me over the past three years. Reclaim your right to grow your own fresh produce for your family. The answer to the problem is not solved by doing just one thing but implementing a combination of strategies that work well together. Last year saw the addition of a quince tree to my garden and with its first fruit I had the first infestation of fruit fly. I blame it on not taking my own advice!  Baits alone are not enough.

We begin by baiting in July/August for the male fruit fly. We must stop the life cycle if we are to achieve good results. I make 2L of bait up in an old 2L milk container. The bait is 2L of water,1/2 cup sugar, 1tsp of vanilla essence and 2T cloudy ammonia. Line up more milk containers, and punch two holes in the top one third of the container. Fill each container with 1 cup of your readymade bait and pop the lids on. The handle makes an ideal place to attach some cable tie so you can hang them in the fruit trees and around your vegetable garden. The male fly will fly into the container attracted to the vanilla essence and sugar then fly straight up to escape into the waiting fumes of the cloudy ammonia. Keep the male bait going until April topping up containers roughly once a month as they evaporate with the heat. During September it is time to bait for the female she will appear on the scene as the ground warms up and is capable of laying eggs one week after emerging. Make more milk containers up with a yeast based bait. I use ‘Eco Naturalure’ which is a easy 1-2 tsp of paste in 2L of water and just pour 1 cup of bait into milk containers to hang with the male baits.

Netting is the next strategy used to protect my particularly susceptible plants such as tomatoes, capsicums and eggplants. Once the tiny fruit start to develop I start netting. I also plant large amounts of basil seedlings around these plants and around the bottom of the fruit trees to ward of the fruit fly and other flying insects. Choose more resistant varieties of tomatoes to grow such as ‘Roma’ and ‘Cherry’. These two varieties are great to cook with and eat fresh. Always clean up left over fruit, the citrus trees are now finishing but a lot of fruit is just left lying around under the trees and next month when the female emerges she will make a bee-line for this fruit as it’s still too cold for anything much else to be fruiting. Talk to your neighbors and get them to support this program too by developing a fruit fly free quadrant around your home.

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