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King Valley fruit fly eradication underway

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The following letter affects all households/properties in the newly declared exclusion zone around Edi Upper where the Queensland Fruit Fly was identified a couple of weeks ago. At that time, the Watchdog posted an article on 23 March 2006 titled Queensland Fruit Fly found at Edi.

The eradication of fruit covers everything except grapes, breadfruit, coffee berry, eggplant and monstera.

It does includes blueberries, kiwi fruit, strawberries, prickly pear, lemons and oranges which all fruit abundently in the King Valley area. (I’d like to see prickly pear contained in a plastic bag!) I wonder how the RCoW will react to excess bags of fruit to be collected by the garbage collection!

Department of Primary Industries
31 March 2006 Private Bag,15 Knoxfield,
VIC 3180

Dear Householder

We are currently in the process of eradicating a Queensland fruit fly outbreak in your town. It is critical that this outbreak is eradicated quickly as the pest can cause serious crop losses if left unchecked. This would have ver> serious consequences for commercial growers in the area and would also make it much more difficult to grow crops such as peaches, citrus and tomatoes in backyards.

A key part of our efforts to eradicate this outbreak is the use of baits that attract and kill fruit flies. The bail contains a lure plus an insecticide (malathion). We understand that some people may have a valid reason for noi wanting to allow baiting on their property. However, if baiting or alternative preventative methods are nol performed in a backyard, then there is a very serious risk that any fruit fly host plants (eg. fruit trees, tomatoes, capsicums) will become infested. This will then undermine what we are doing in the rest of town to eradicate the outbreak.

To prevent this happening I am therefore writing to seek your co-operation to immediately harvest all fruit, tomatoes and capsicums growing on plants in your backyard and place them in an intact plastic bag. Once the fruit and susceptible vegetables have been placed into plastic bag(s), tie the top securely and leave the bag in a sunny position for at least 3 days. During this time, the bag will heat up and any fruit fly larvae in the fruit will be killed. After this period, the bag should be kept sealed and can then be placed in normal rubbish disposal facilities.

Please do not take any fresh fruit (including tomatoes and capsicums) away from your property. It is important for residents to note that it is an offence to remove fresh fruit (including tomatoes and capsicums) from within a declared suspension zone (which your town is at present) and transport that fruit or vegetable within a declared fruit fly outbreak suspension zone.

Harvesting the susceptible crops will also leave any flies that may be in the area, with no where to lay their eggs, which will also considerably help to control the outbreak.

We are seeking your help to do this now, as it is essential that we prevent any fruit flies from surviving ovei winter to carry over the outbreak to next spring. One of our staff will visit you over the next two weeks to ensure that all of the susceptible crops have been disposed of. If you would like any assistance on this or have any questions on the contents of this letter, please contact our toll free number 1800 119 498 (only from a land-line phone) and a Departmental officer will arrange a time to come and assist you.

I must emphasise that it is extremely important that these susceptible crops are removed and properly disposed of. We very much appreciate the assistance that you and the other residents of your town have given us to date. However, I must point out, that in the event that a resident chooses to ignore this request, that under out statutory powers we have the authority to order that this is done at your cost.

Yours faithfully
P J SHARKEY, Manager, Plant Standards. Victoria


Written by Greg Naylor

3 April 2006 at 3:17 pm

Posted in media release

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