Pest control leaders

THE issue of fruit flies in the Central and North Burnett region has lessened over the years, thanks to the area-wide management in place.

Bugs for Bugs Entomologist and Chairman of the Fruit Fly Force Dan Papacek said the committee had concerns the lack of fruit fly numbers could lead to complacency.

"We urge everyone to continue to do everything they can to keep populations low," Mr Papacek said

"While growers already had a good background in managing fruit flies well, the project helped to fine tune those management practices."

Mr Papacek also believed the Burnett was a shining light for successful pest management.

"This is an outstanding example of area-wide management." Mr Papacek said

The Central Burnett Area Wide Management Committee is also managing fruit fly infestation in urban areas such as Gayndah and Mundubbera.

"Our strategy can best be described as a system approach with techniques such as attract and kill with protein lures," Mr Papacek said

"As well as male annihilation techniques and stringent monitoring."

The Fruit Fly Force is run by a committee of volunteers who all have a vested interest in the continued success of fruit fly management.

The program is funded by Horticulture Australia in collaboration with various horticulture industries and the Department of Primary Industries.

PhD candidate for the Australian National University Heleen Kruger is conducting a survey with horticulture growers in the region.

Mrs Kruger's research into the Central Burnett about fruit fly area-wide management is funded by the Plant Biosecurity CRC.

"This pest can cause serious crop damage," Mrs Kruger said

"But more concerning to many growers is that it can hinder market access or necessitate the use of costly post-harvest treatments."

The management committee has employed tactics which use more crop-friendly products.

The concept of taking the fruit fly management from the farm level to an area-wide management scheme has proven successful.

"It's clear that the comprehensive approach to fruit fly management has caused a steady decline in population numbers." Mr Papacek said

The success of this program has shown the North Burnett is a leader in fruit fly management.

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