Step 5 – Start locally, then expand

Qfly simply seek areas where they like to live. They need fruit to sting, places to shelter, moisture and humidity. A typical backyard provides all these things, so Qfly happily live and breed in them.

Fruit flies do not lay the same number of eggs in every piece of fruit they find. Even a single tree with only a few pieces of fruit will have a greater proportion of fruit stung, as well as more eggs laid per piece of fruit, than a site with multiple trees that have lots of fruit. One tree, with only a few fruit, can still produce a lot of flies.

While having the whole town involved is ideal, you do not have to wait for this to happen before starting change. Most flies do not move far, and even the cooperation of a small group will lead to much cleaner fruit and vegetables in your garden.

Analysing fly trap data in relation to simulation modelling shows that commercial properties located near urban areas tend to have higher and more persistent Qfly populations, so managing Qfly in town is critical. Backyard growers and surrounding growers will benefit from this: if there are commercial growers in the region, management of flies in towns is important. Bagging fruits of backyard trees will prevent fly infestation and can be endorsed as an urban control.

The main problem with highly mobile insect pests is that they do not stop at property borders. This means they will start to forage at scales larger than single properties. Therefore, to achieve effective pest suppression, you cannot stop at property borders either. Area-wide management is most successful when it includes all potential habitats in an area.

There are 2 key recommendations:

  1. increase growers adopting best management practices (such as MAT, baits and hygiene)
  2. include non-commercial areas in the management actions (especially urban spaces).

When choosing your management tools for urban spaces, you need to consider options that are acceptable to the community and practical to implement. Research shows that trapping, host removal and SIT are options that communities find acceptable.

Your success in suppressing pests will be dependent on the adoption rate and the landscape context. In areas that have (or support) higher fly numbers, management adoption has to be higher to achieve the same suppression (successive host-use).

Expanding over a wider area will inevitably involve more people and landscape types. Revisit Step 1 and refresh yourself about the composition of your landscape and the likely horticultural industries that you will need to consult. The next step will provide some advice on how to engage others to increase their adoption of best management practices.

At this point, you may be able to set some further objectives and timelines for suppressing pests, then by using your monitoring data you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your program, and consider if or when you might be able to add SIT to your program.

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