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Fruit fly hotspots targeted in emergency response

Around 1,500 properties in fruit fly hotspot areas of Prospect and Stepney (SA) will be targeted in the coming days as part of an emergency response to remove ripe fruit and vegetables at risk of hosting fruit fly.

People who live in these suburbs are being asked to remove at-risk fruit and vegetables from trees and plants as soon as possible.

This action is needed to help protect the $1.3 billion South Australian horticulture industry that is at risk from fruit fly, representing 37,500 jobs and around 4,000 businesses.

Department of Primary Industries and Regions staff, who will be easily recognisable by their orange overalls, will begin doorknocking in the area to inform residents and help with the removal of at-risk produce.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said a significant rise in fruit fly detections in Prospect and Stepney means the State Government must act quickly.

“We are committed to protecting our $1.3 billion horticulture industry that is at risk from fruit fly which supports thousands of jobs and businesses across South Australia,” Minister Basham said.

“This week we will begin a blitz in selected areas of Prospect and Stepney, door-knocking around 1,500 households in these identified hot-spot areas to help remove at-risk fruit and vegetables from home gardens.

“In an effort to reduce the risk of fruit fly spreading further we are asking residents to pick all their ripe summer fruit and vegetables from trees and plants as soon as possible, and our authorised PIRSA staff will be seeking entry to properties to assist in removing at-risk produce.

“We have seen a steep rise in fruit fly detections in these areas last week and this is an emergency response to step up our eradication activities. The public have been extremely helpful during our eradication efforts so far and we are asking everyone who is contacted to give these authorised staff access to your garden so they can complete their work and remove at-risk produce.

“If you’re not home when we doorknock at your property, you’ll be left a letter with information about the operation that’s underway and how to contact PIRSA to arrange for staff to access your property to assist with clearing fruit. We are encouraging homeowners to eat, use or preserve the picked fruit and vegetables where possible but if you can’t please dispose of the waste in your green bin.

“Nobody wants a maggot in their fruit – South Australia has an enviable fruit fly free status that is valued not only in our lucrative overseas export markets, but also every time you step into your backyard and pick fruit off your tree untouched by fruit fly.

“We cannot let this pest take hold – we have to get the fruit before the fruit fly does.”

Visit www.fruitfly.sa.gov.au to see a full list of what fruit and vegetables are at risk.

Photo: Fruit tree removal program (Source: fruitflycontrol.com.au)

Acknowledgement: this article was reproduced from a media release from the Premier of SA website.