Horticulture

Lions swatting fruit fly

By Country News

Lions club members from the Goulburn and Murray valleys took part in an induction workshop last Wednesday as part of a fruit fly school education program roll-out.

The Lions initiative, resourced by the Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project, aims to develop Queensland fruit fly awareness and trap-making sessions for students in the region.

Representatives from 15 Lions clubs took part in the training session in Shepparton, which gave them the skills and information needed to deliver fruit fly training sessions at primary schools in their own towns.

‘‘The aim of the program is to get the message across that fruit trees and vegetable gardens need to be managed — because if they’re not they can become infested with fruit fly and that becomes a breeding habitat,’’ Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said.

‘‘If it’s unmanaged and uncontrolled, then fruit fly numbers can escalate.’’

Mr Abberfield said the fruit fly school sessions targeted Year 4 students.

Students are given information about Queensland fruit fly and then work to construct their own traps using plastic bottles and funnels.

They are then given an information pack to take home to their parents along with the trap, which gives details on how to set up the trap in their backyard and the steps to take to manage and protect their fruit and vegetables if they catch any fruit flies.

Mr Abberfield said the workshops were critical in generating public awareness about the issue of fruit fly, which could be easily managed when people knew the appropriate steps to take.

‘‘Pick, prune and protect, use enclosures or fruit fly netting, understand what baits, sprays and traps are available and know that traps are a monitoring device and they will not solve your problem,’’ Mr Abberfield said.

‘‘If you start catching flies in your traps it’s an indication you need to take other measures to action and manage fruit flies in your home garden and the community.’’

—Liz Mellino