Free tree removal program reduces fruit fly numbers

NO FLIES ON US… Potential fruit fly breeding grounds are reduced through the removal of fruit trees at this unmanaged orchard through the works of the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Project. Photo: Supplied.

The fruit fly is finding it harder to get a foothold in the Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV) thanks to moves to disrupt the pest’s habitat through the removal and eradication of unwanted fruiting trees and plants.

The GMV Fruit Fly Project’s free tree removal program has significantly reduced potential breeding habitat through the removal of nearly 80,000 unmanaged fruit trees and plants since June 2017. It is estimated that by the end of the financial year this number will have increased to approximately 90,000.

GMV Regional Fruit Fly Coordinator, Ross Abberfield said originally the focus was on unmanaged residential and public trees and plants but has been expanded to include unmanaged orchards, which make up a large percentage of the removals to date.

“We have been able to reduce potential breeding habitat by working with property owners to remove unmanaged orchards that have been non-productive for two consecutive seasons or more. These orchards are inspected by Agriculture Victoria staff to verify they meet the strict conditions necessary to qualify for the removal program,” Mr Abberfield said.

The free tree removal program is available within Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Moira and Strathbogie Shires. Anyone who has a fruit tree they no longer want or can no longer manage can contact their participating Council’s customer service centre or visit for more information about the application process.

Removal of unmanaged fruit fly habitat is only one aspect of the project’s QFF Area Wide Management Action Plan. The GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project’s aim is to create fruit fly awareness, education and engagement in the community, industry and government across a broad region and encourage landholders to accept responsibility for managing their fruit trees and vegetables effectively.