With the weather warming up we'll be seeing more growth in the garden, but unfortunately this time of year also signals the return of the dreaded fruit fly.
We've had a difficult past few years at the garden with fruit fly, losing a lot of fruiting crops including tomatoes, capsicums and zucchini. We're hoping to get on top of the population in the garden this year, which will need involvement from all members to keep our spring and summer veggies safe.
It's easier to get these buggers with some information about their life cycle, so strap in for a biology lesson!
There are many different species of fruit fly but the most common pest species in NSW is the Queensland Fruit Fly (Bactrocer tryoni). This 7mm fly is mainly active in the warmer months of the year, with populations exploding during spring and summer before a decline in Autumn.
Female fruit flies lay their eggs in the fruiting bodies of plants, laying up to 100 eggs per day. Evidence of laid eggs can be difficult to spot, as they are only 1mm in length. Sometimes the fruit appears "stung" with small holes , and in later stages the fruit becomes rotten as maggots emerge from the eggs.
After hatching (and a feeding on your precious fruit), fruit fly maggots drop with the rotten fruit to the ground and form pupate to form adult flies. In warm weather, adult flies emerge in as little as seven days, beginning the whole life cycle again and leading to drastic increases in numbers. Slower emergence in cooler months allow the flies to "overwinter" to the next season making it harder to break the cycle of infestation.
Tips for fruit fly control will be in the next post. If you'd like to read more about fruit fly in the meantime, check out the links below.
Pest fruit fly species
Fruit Fly life cycle