Two million sterile Queensland fruit flies will be released near Cobram in an attempt to manage pest populations.
Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said the release of sterile flies over Cobram was an innovative advance in the control of wild Queensland fruit fly populations.
“The release of the sterile flies is part of a multi-pronged strategy that includes surveillance trapping, baiting, removal of unwanted or unmanaged host trees, and an extensive community awareness and education campaign,” Mr Abberfield said.
The release of the fruit flies is part of the SITPlus pilot program, which will take place until April next year.
This is the first time the trials have moved to Victoria and NSW, after the flies were successfully released in South Australia in the past year.
SITPlus program director Dan Ryan said the early results of the Cobram pilot were pleasing.
“The pilot is establishing the basis for effective urban suppression to help fruit growers in the Cobram region,” Mr Ryan said.
“I’m very happy to see good collaboration happening between Agriculture Victoria, Moira Shire Council and the SITPlus partners for the benefit of the Cobram growers.”
The Queensland fruit flies will be dropped weekly from a customised aircraft and their movement will be monitored by scientists.
The sterile flies are grown to the pupal stage in Port Augusta, then sterilised at Netley before being shipped to the Victorian rear-out facility in Tatura where the sterile adult flies are conditioned before release.
For more information about the SITPlus program, visit www.area-wide-management.com.au