THE Victorian Government has warned motorists not to carry fruit into horticultural districts to help reduce the risk of outbreaks of fruit fly.
State Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh was in Cobram today warning that Victoria was again facing the risk of more fruit fly outbreaks this summer.
He said it was crucial that motorists were aware of their responsibilities not to carry host material into the state's major fruit growing areas.
"Queensland fruit fly is one of the world's worst horticultural pests and poses a serious risk to our fruit industries by lowering production, making fruit inedible and disrupting local and international trade,'' Mr Walsh said.
"Fruit flies will infest nearly all fruits, as well as tomatoes, capsicums and chillies, and a single piece can carry a number of fruit fly maggots.
"Just one female fruit fly reaching adulthood can lay up to 800 eggs in her lifetime.
"If these flies are left unchecked they can rapidly spread through a fruit or vegetable growing area, resulting in unsaleable crops and the loss of markets, as well expensive measures to control the pest which affect growers bottom lines.''
Mr Walsh said the best way to prevent the spread of fruit fly was not to travel with fruit or vegetables at all, whether they were grown in the backyard or purchased from a retail outlet.
"Motorists should be aware of their responsibilities not to carry fresh fruit or vegetables into Victorias main fruit growing areas,'' Mr Walsh said.
"In particular, heavy fines apply for carrying host material into the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area.''
He said residents in declared outbreak areas and the Sunraysia Greater Pest Free Area also had a role to play in combating fruit fly by keeping their gardens free of rotting fruit.
"It's crucial that residents keep an eye on their backyard fruit trees, pick host fruit or vegetables as they ripen and quickly dispose of any fallen fruit,'' Mr Walsh said.
To deal with fruit waste:
- Unwanted fruit or vegetables should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left in the sun for five days to kill any fruit fly maggots that may be present, then disposed of in the rubbish.
- Residents who find creamy-white maggots in any backyard fruit or vegetables can contact the Department of Primary Industries on 1300 135 559.
For more information on Queensland fruit fly go to www.dpi.vic.gov.au/qff