MILLIONS of sterile fruit flies will be released across the Riverland this week, as part of an eradication plan to stop breeding.
From this week, PIRSA will start releasing 20 million sterile male fruit flies per week.
Sterile flies - known as SIT (Sterile Insect Technique) flies - will be released from utes in the highest risk areas surrounding detection sites.
These sterile male flies will be released in quantities of about 3000 per hectare, where they'll breed with wild female flies and prevent them laying fertile eggs that hatch into destructive fruit flies.
The next stage of the program will involve sterile flies being released by a low flying plane targeting fruit fly affected areas, from September. This will help reach properties not near roads.
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Primary Industries Minister Clare Scriven said the aerial administering of sterile fruit flies was one of the successful tactics used in the metropolitan Adelaide fruit fly response last year, when 12 outbreaks were successfully eradicated.
"The fruit fly response tactics are ramping up now because flies that hibernated over winter will become more active as spring approaches," she said.
We want to get rid of flies as soon as they emerge and prevent breeding as much as possible.- NICK SECOMB
PIRSA Fruit Fly Response general manager Nick Secomb said Riverland residents should prepare to see more PIRSA field staff visiting their properties, "and they may see sterile insect release vehicles on the streets and the airplane up above".
"We want to get rid of flies as soon as they emerge and prevent breeding as much as possible. PIRSA, growers and the community all play a role in achieving this," he said.
"The sterile fly release works best when baiting, traps and lures are hard at work on the ground - so PIRSA staff in orange overalls will continue to visit residential properties to hang traps in trees and check for fruit fly."
Riverland Fruit Fly Committee Chair Jason Size said commercial growers in red fruit fly outbreak areas could now register for a new self-baiting program, where they will receive free bait and devices, such as traps to use on their properties.
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