A Rochester resident is warning others to be aware of how to treat fruit trees before fruit fly can become an issue.
Rochester resident Bruce Kneebone wants to raise awareness about the presence of fruit fly in the region before it begins damaging the tomato and grape production in the area.
He has several citrus trees in his garden and is treating them before they ripen to ensure fruit fly do not invade.
Mr Kneebone said last year the Department of Primary Industries inspected his property and set baits for the fruit fly, but the monitoring program finished last year.
He said it was important for district residents to observe their fruit trees and carry out the necessary treatment so the pest did not spread.
DPI Victorian fruit fly operations manager Bill Ashcroft said the department had active control points around the state but due to higher numbers of the pest it was no longer feasible to continue the program both financially and physically.
‘‘We are seeing the numbers rise,’’ he said.
He said DPI was still monitoring the situation and had traps around the state.
Mr Ashcroft said instead of several smaller zones where fruit could be transported, DPI had now opened up to include one large zone from the west of Echuca through to Bendigo and up to the north-east of the state.
He said to spot the fly, the gardener must cut the fruit open and look for larvae.
If these are found, the fruit should be placed in a bag and sealed and either left in the sun or frozen to kill the pests before it is disposed of.
‘‘They shouldn’t be left on the ground,’’ he said.
Mr Ashcroft said residents should speak to their local hardware stores about prevention and treatment for the pests or call the advice line on 136
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