Fruit Fly Trap Finds Effective Lure For Female Flies
Author: Emma Brown

Fruit Fly Trap Finds Effective Lure For Female Flies

3-fruitflies-trap1-lg.jpgMales are attracted to sex, females are attracted to food.

That is the secret behind a successful fruit fly trap that has dramatically reduced Queensland fruit fly numbers around Swan Hill in Victoria's north west.

The trap has effectively lured female fruit flies, something that has been a challenge in the past.

Manager and owner of Bio Trap Australia Colin Bain said targeting female fruit flies had been the important step in controlling the pest.

"What I developed was a lure that attracted a female fruit fly. We've got lures that attract males and they've been around for a number of years," he said.

"But there wasn't really a good or adequate lure for the female fruit fly, which is of course what does the damage.

"The female lays the eggs in the fruit and the maggots develop in the fruit, so we need to catch the female fruit fly."

Mr Bain said targeting the female fruit fly's need to develop eggs had been a key in the design of the trap.

"The male lure is what they call a parapheromone: it's a sex attractant. The female one is a food attractant," he said.

"Both the male and female require a protein feed once they emerge from the pupae stage ... this lure that I have developed is a very attractive source of protein for them.

"They need this protein to become sexually mature, then the male will go away and he will be happy to live on water and sugar: typical male I guess.

"But the female will continue to seek out a source of protein, and we hope there will be a trap nearby that she will be attracted to."
Dead Queensland fruit flies in a bio trap.
Photo: Dead Queensland fruit flies in a Bio Trap. (Emma Brown)

Swan Hill region sees drop in fruit fly numbers

Mr Bain said Queensland fruit fly will never be eradicated from Sunraysia, but trapping schemes in towns and orchards should make population numbers manageable.

He said farmers needed to be setting up monitoring traps and baiting fruit flies when they were detected,

According to Mr Bain, the pest moves into towns for the winter period to stay warm.

He said targeting backyards in Swan Hill had had a positive impact on the local fruit industry.

"The last count in a fortnight period, was 11 flies in total," he said.

"In previous years they were catching thousands."

Published: Wednesday 2nd December 2015
Author: Emma Brown
More Info: ABC Victoria Country Hour

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Last Update: 21-07-2017 08:38