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What’s in a Queensland Fruit Fly trap?

Research & Extension
qff trap stock Malcolm Tattersall

Photo by Malcolm Tattersall

A suite of tools is required for effective Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) prevention and management in a fruit production system. Written by Bronwyn Koll.

Whilst orchard hygiene, M.A.T. (attract and kill male lures) and regular protein bait sprays are important factors for QFF control, traps are one of the tools farm managers also opt for, but which trap?

What role do the traps play in QFF management?

Traps are mainly used as a tool to monitor QFF population trends or in the role of early detection. When used in a grid, QFF traps can be used to observe general pest pressure over a given area or from a certain direction. Traps can be used to help prove QFF absence! The number of QFF in the traps can be tracked over time and farm management actions can be reviewed or altered to reduce the QFF population. Traps are also useful in backyards as one of the management tools, particularly where the use of other control options may be limited.

What type of trap do I need? How are they used?

Traps are often a small container or sticky panel, brightly coloured, and hung in a warm yet shady location like a tree at about 1.5m high. They are based on a fly attractant (lure), and a kill method. Traps provide the grower with the ability to count the catch at regular intervals. Attractants are usually based on the release of odours and visual cues. Attractants include a para-pheromone option (males only), a food source (male and female) or some mimic ripe fruit (females). Each type of attractant has its advantages. Lures are attractive according to a fly’s gender, age, sexual maturity and reproductive stage. Three types of kill methods include the use of insecticide (synthetic or organic),
a body of liquid (that the fly drowns in) or a sticky surface, to capture the pest.

Using a variety of traps is one way to capture knowledge about the whole fruit fly population at a given time or over the season. Traps do not replace the need for fruit inspections. It is important to consider what other attractions are in or around the orchard at the time of observing the trap counts and making management decision. These “real” attractions could be distracting the flies from the surveillance traps. Ripe fruit in an orchard, naturally occurring para pheromones and protein food sources on leaves in the bush are “the real thing” when it comes
to fruit flies! All practices to reduce fruit fly impact need to be used in a collaborative way to achieve good area wide management!

qff trap afg


Bronwyn’s role is funded under the Victorian Government’s Managing Fruit Fly-Regional Grants program.

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