Victorians to be on the lookout for Medfly

Victorian residents in areas bordering South Australia and along key transport routes are being asked to keep a close watch on fruits and vegetables in their gardens this year following detections of Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) in South Australia.

Photo credit: Scott Bauer, Bugwood

Anyone travelling within the Victorian-South Australian border bubble is being asked not to carry fruit with them across the border to help keep Medfly out of the state. Fruit from home gardens is considered a particularly high risk of carrying Medfly.

Victoria’s Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Rosa Crnov said Medfly poses a significant threat to the state’s multi-million-dollar fruit and vegetable industries.

“Medfly is exotic to Victoria and is a pest that attacks a wide range of fruits and fruiting vegetables, decreasing production and making fruit inedible,” said Dr Crnov.

Medfly outbreaks in South Australia have been contained and eradication activities are underway however, the highly travelled road routes between Victoria and South Australia are at risk of introducing Medfly by travellers carrying potentially infested fruit.

Dr Crnov said the early reporting and detection of Medfly in Victoria will provide the best chance of eradicating this pest if it arrives in the state.

“If you grow fruit and vegetables, the best time to start monitoring for Medfly is at the start of spring when the weather warms up and Medfly become more active.”

“Stonefruit, oranges, apples and pears are especially susceptible to Medfly attack.”

“Adult Medfly are 3 to 5 millimetres long and yellowish in colour. They have black markings on the body and distinctive brown bands on the wings. Medfly stings the surface of the fruit, laying eggs under the surface.”

“Fruit fly larvae (maggots) are found in the centre of stung fruit and are 5 to 10mm long and creamy-white in colour.”

If you live in Victoria within the South Australian border bubble and find fruit fly in your home grown produce, or find larvae in fruit bought with you from South Australia, please place the affected fruit into a sealed container and in a fridge where possible and contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 immediately.

Unlike Medfly, Queensland fruit fly is established in Victoria and is a pest under stakeholder management. The maggots from Queensland fruit fly and Medfly are very similar in appearance and difficult to distinguish.

If you suspect you have Medfly please contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 immediately.

For more information about Medfly visit the Mediterranean Fruitfly page on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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