ORCHARDISTS from throughout the region heard a firsthand account of how fruit flies decimated crops, thanks to entomologist Dr Eric Jang of the US Department of Agriculture, who visited the Orange Agricultural Institute on Monday.
Dr Jang, who is based in Hawaii, talked to orchardists and researchers about the latest developments in fruit fly management and the danger it posed to the Australian market.
“Fruit flies are a worldwide problem and it’s becoming more problematic as world trade increases,” Dr Jang said.
“[However] It’s a bigger problem in Hawaii, where we have four different types of fruit flies, than it is here in Australia.”
Dr Jang said Hawaii had prioritised increasing crop production by eradicating pests such as fruit flies, in an effort to give the region more food security.
“Hawaii imports more than 90 per cent of its food,” Dr Jang said.
Dr Jang said fruit fly damage had cost the Hawaiian economy million of dollars in lost produce so now was the right time for Australia to devise a comprehensive strategy to combat them.
Myles Parker of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said Dr Jang had35 years experience in the field and had successfully used attractants to underpin the detection, control and eradication of invasive fruit fly pests around the world.
Mr Parker said Dr Jang and his team had developed lures to trap fruit flies and disrupt fruit fly activity, breeding and feeding in orchards.
“These pheromone-like lures are being used overseas as part of a systems approach to quarantine security, which has been codified to meet internationally recognised standards,” Mr Parker said.
“Dr Jang has worked with four invasive fruit fly species in Hawaii and his findings can further inform our management of Queensland fruit fly.”