Australia battles dual pest outbreaks

For fresh produce marketing in Australia and New Zealand
Emily French

BY EMILY FRENCH

Australia battles dual pest outbreaks

Agriculture industry threatened by fourth outbreak of fruit fly in Adelaide and discovery of citrus gall wasp infestation in WA

Australia battles dual pest outbreaks

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Australia is struggling with pest outbreaks on multiple fronts, with a fourth outbreak of fruit fly in Adelaide, South Australia and the discovery of trees infested with citrus gall wasp in Western Australia (WA).

The Mediterranean fruit fly was discovered in a trap in Peterhead, located in Adelaide’s western suburbs, the manager of Plant and Food Standards Geoff Raven told ABC News.

A 1.5km radius quarantine zone has been established around the discovery of the fertile female fly, which encompasses parts of Peterhead, Glanville, Exeter, Port Adelaide, Birkenhead, Semaphore and Largs.

Local biosecurity authorities said an eradication program could last up to 12 weeks. Only fresh produce that has been cooked is permitted to be taken out of the quarantine zone. 

Other recent outbreaks were in the Woodville Gardens, Kilburn and Royal Park areas.

The discovery of trees infested with citrus gall wasp in a suburban property in the northeast of Perth, WA, threatens the state’s status as free of the pest.

The wasp causes a reduction in the tree’s foliage and fruit production capacity.

WA’s Department of Agriculture and Food has called for commercial and domestic citrus growers to inspect their trees for thick and deformed branches that can contain the wasp’s larvae.

Marc Poole, a quarantine entomologist with the department, told ABC News that while the infestation is small at present, finding infected trees before adult wasps emerge in August is extremely important.

“The wasp would have come in on some nursery stock somehow,” he said. “Whether it was an illegal import or in the nursery trade, we won't be able to ever determine that.”

 

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