Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Backyard infestation an issue too big to tackle

Moama residents Pat and Ivy Nash say the fruit in their backyards, such as apricots and blood plums, are continually damaged by a fruit fly infestation.

ALEX BATHMAN January 14, 2014 9:11am

Ivy Nash with some of the damaged fruit.

District residents have been left frustrated by a fruit fly infestation amid comments from the NSW Government that the problem is too big to tackle.

Moama residents Pat and Ivy Nash said fruit such as apricots and blood plums was continually damaged.

The pair said they were unhappy with efforts by the NSW Department of Primary Industries to conduct controlled sprays in the area.

‘‘We are not seen as a fruit fly risk area. They won’t help us,’’ Mrs Nash said.

‘‘(The department) used to spray the trees up and down the streets but they stopped about two or three years ago.

‘‘No-one is interested. We have orchardists in the region spraying regularly but the regular householders have trouble controlling (fruit fly),’’ Mrs Nash said.

Friends and neighbours of the couple are also disappointed by the lack of government assistance.

Echuca’s Lance Forster, who has been growing oranges, nectarines, apples and apricots for 12 years, said he had tried over-the-counter sprays and baits but those methods were not always successful.

‘‘We are told what to do once we have the infestation, put the fruit in a plastic bag and leave it in the sun, but we aren’t given any assistance on how to prevent (the fruit fly) breeding in the first place,’’ Mr Forster said.

A NSW DPI spokesman said the government was committed to assisting the fruit industry but had limited ability to control the insects in all areas of the region.

‘‘Given the spread and colonisation of Queensland fruit fly in southern NSW and northern Victoria over the last several seasons, the original aim of eradication of all outbreaks and reinstatement of area freedom in the Riverina is no longer considered technically feasible or financially sustainable,’’ he said.

A Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries spokeswoman said the government was working with the table grape, citrus and stone fruit sectors on longer-term arrangements for funding the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area.

This covers a section of state border from Kerang to Wentworth and Pooncarie, NSW.

Echuca-Moama is not included in this zone.

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