NINETY million sterile fruit flies will be released over Adelaide across a 10-week period in an effort to combat ongoing fruit fly outbreaks in the metropolitan area.
The Sterile Insect Technology flies are being released from a low-flying fixed wing airplane across the 11 outbreak areas in metropolitan Adelaide, with the first flight having occurred on Saturday.
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister David Basham said the male sterile fruit flies would seek out female fruit flies in the outbreak areas.
"These sterile flies are bred to be strong, fit, and very attractive to the wild fruit flies," Mr Basham said.
"In total, 90m sterile flies will be released across 10 weeks with flights twice a week over outbreak areas where the sterile flies will breed with the wild flies, meaning they can't reproduce, and we break the life cycle."
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He urged metropolitan residents not to be alarmed if they saw the plane flying low over their suburb.
"This is an important step as we continue our eradication program to protect the thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses threatened by these outbreaks," he said.
"We have had more than 400 staff on the ground undertaking baiting and fruit stripping operations across the outbreak areas, at a cost of almost $20m in the eradication effort to-date.
"As we continue to battle fruit fly outbreaks, it is vital South Australians continue to follow the strict quarantine rules in place to protect the $1.3 billion horticulture industry vulnerable to fruit fly.
"If you live in an outbreak area you must not move fruit and vegetables off your property.
"This is a reminder to keep your garden tidy by picking fruit as soon as it is ripe, collecting fallen fruit from the ground, and disposing of it correctly according to where you live."
The fruit flies for the metropolitan aerial release are bred in a dedicated Medfly SIT facility in WA, with the Port Augusta SITPlus facility breeding sterile Qld fruit fly to be used as part of the Riverland eradication program.
Restrictions are in place for the 11 metropolitan Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks and one Qfly outbreak until at least December 18.
- Details: Visit the fruit fly website or call the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010.
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