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Fruit fly threat

Saturday, 16th April, 2011

FRUIT FLY: Jim Hannigan suspects his mangoes are fruit fly infested. FRUIT FLY: Jim Hannigan suspects his mangoes are fruit fly infested.

 By Gayle Hogan 

The region’s commercial fruit growing operations could be under threat after a suspected case of fruit fly was detected in Broken Hill, the second this year.

Jim Hannigan discovered the pest inside mangoes on Wednesday night and while attempting to contact the relevant authorities, some of the near-ripe fruit was taken.

The local tradesman said he was concerned where the fruit might have ended up, given the fruit growing operations at Tandou and Mildura.

“Now there’s so much water up there everyone’s making trips up the river.... what if they take the fruit up there?” Mr Hannigan said.

Mr Hannigan said he was frustrated to find State Government structural changes and disconnected phone numbers made it difficult to locate the correct department immediately.

He tried “seven or eight” numbers before getting in touch with a regulatory officer from Dareton.

“I tried every avenue possible,” Mr Hannigan said.

“My concern was how hard it was to find out what to do.”

The Dareton-based regulatory officer was due to inspect the fruit yesterday to confirm whether it was fruit fly, but never turned up, according to Mr Hannigan.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director of Agricultural Compliance Andrew Sanger urged people not to travel with fruit to protect commercial operations.

“Don’t take it from town to town because the commercial fruit industry has strict protocols,” Mr Sanger said.

“It’s possible to spread the fruit fly to other areas.

“The risk (of fruit fly) from commercial fruit is much lower than back yard fruit.”

Mr Sanger said the DPI has someone monitoring fruit fly traps in Broken Hill and Menindee and that fruit fly was a major issue this year.

“It’s a particular problem this year right throughout NSW.

“The best thing to do (if fruit fly is discovered) is contact the Department of Primary Industries office and they’ll makes sure it gets through to the relevant people.”

In February this year local yards were checked and sprayed after fruit fly larvae were found in a Bromide Street house. 

Fruit flies can lay eggs in all types of maturing ripe fruit as well as some vegetables. 

A tell-tale sign is a sting mark or something that looks like a pin prick on the fruit.

Tiny creamy-white maggots hatch from the eggs and burrow through the fruit as they feed. Infested fruit can look perfectly healthy on the outside but mushy and brown on the inside.

To report fruit fly, contact the local Department of Primary Industries office on 8088 9300. 


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