Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean fruit fly’


Senior technical officer Ernie Steiner with the x-ray irradiator used to sterilise Mediterranean fruit fly.

Sterile flies released in South Australia
ABC Rural By Joanna Prendergast


Scientists in Western Australia are breeding millions of fruit flies for release in South Australia.

In Australia, there are two types of fruit fly – the Mediterranean and Queensland flies. Both spoil a wide range of fruit and vegetables by laying their eggs in maturing crops.

The sterile Mediterranean fruit flies are being used as a control measure after an outbreak at Sellicks Beach, south of Adelaide.

Bill Woods, from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, says the sterile flies outbreed their fertile counterparts, but they’re not cheap.

“South Australia was paying $5,000 for a million. There is money in flies. We just wish we could sell them at Bunnings and then we could retire,” he said.

Mr Woods says sterile flies work by outnumbering the existing fertile male flies. The female fly mates with the sterile fly and lays eggs which won’t hatch, reducing the population.

He says that with the reduction of chemicals permitted for use in Western Australia, he expects sterile flies may make a comeback for WA fruit growers.



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