Barham trapping program to save backyard and commercial produce
A PROGRAM created by a Barham farmer is helping to stave off booming fruit fly numbers in the region.
Phillip Williamson, who grows 117ha of citrus, was despairing at the increasing fruit fly population in his local area and decided to do something about it.
"The (Victorian Government) is doing some work with the new levy, but it is so slow and I decided to do something myself," he said.
Mr Williamson was driving past his local hardware store when he had the idea to buy and distribute fruit fly traps to the three hardware stores in the region.
He bought 750 traps and donated them to the hardware stores, where they're sold for $5 for a set of two.
The stores then hand the proceeds of the sales back to Mr Williamson who uses the money to buy more traps.
The program has only been running for a week but is already proving a success.
"It's something the townspeople have had terrible trouble with in their backyards — they have had no garden fruit or vegetables in two years because the fly problem is so bad," he said.
"One of my friends has great feijoa trees and they were just ruined by maggots."
Mr Williamson has his doubts about the new $3-a-tonne biosecurity levy to tackle fruit fly in NSW and Victoria.
"It will cost me $15,000 a year and my worry is that it will all go on administration," Mr Williamson said. "This project cost me $3500 but could save me 10 times that."
The traps Mr Williamson is using are a new variety that have been formulated to attract females, not just males.
Trap creator Colin Bain, from BioTrap Australia, said his trap was the only trap that caught both sexes of the fly.
Five thousand of the traps have been used in the Sunraysia Pest Free Area as part of a government program.
The traps also help track the spread and number of flies.
"The idea of using them at this time of year is to reduce the over wintering population," Mr Bain said.
The Victorian Government has announced a five-year plan for a "proactive and co-ordinated" approach to Queensland fruit fly management.
Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the statewide action plan would set out the priority areas Development of the plan will begin with a statewide forum in Melbourne in July.