Qfly strikes again

A 2023 sighting of the “Qfly” has sparked a new round of quarantine. Photo by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

THE dreaded Queensland fruit fly has made an unwelcome return to WA, with a confirmed detection of the highly invasive pest in sticky traps in Bayswater.  

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has now declared a quarantine area covering a 15 kilometre radius around the suburbs of Bayswater and Belmont.

The “Qfly” is 6 to 8mm long, distinguished by its reddish-brown torso with yellow patches, dark brown abdomen, and clear wings. 

DPIRP warns if the fly gets properly loose it could endanger the tradition of growing fruit and veggies in the backyard, and if it spreads more widely it could prevent WA fruit from being exported, with the large Japanese avocado and Thailand strawberry markets at risk. 

The quarantine area centred around Bayswater.

Fruit trees

The fly infests dozens of common backyard fruit trees, including citrus trees, chilies, berries, apples, apricots, and mulberries. Recently suspicions have grown that Moreton Bay figs might be susceptible. 

The quarantine zone covers the entirety of Vincent, Perth and Bayswater councils and almost all of Stirling, and stretches inland as far as Swan View. 

Any fruit susceptible to Qfly that’s grown in the quarantine zone can’t be moved outside of it without DPIRD approval. 

Smaller, stricter “corrective action zones” have also been declared in a 1.5km area surrounding each detection point and residents have been mailboxed an alert. 

Any fresh fruit that can host a Qfly can’t be moved outside the corrective zones, all ripe fruit must be picked and all fallen fruit must be removed every three days.

If you don’t eat the fruit it has to be bagged up and stuck in rubbish bins, not green waste or compost bins. 

The battle to keep Qfly out has been longrunning: The species was first eradicated from Perth in 1989, and has returned and been wiped out seven times since. 

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