One of the greatest sources of high fruit fly populations is from year-round infestation in town gardens which serve as a source of infestation of adjacent farms. All fruit trees as well as other trees/shrubs which bear fleshy berries/fruitlets can be regarded as potential fruit fly hosts.
Town residents can help agriculture by picking up, on a daily basis, all fruit fly infested fruit and berries/fruitlets which have fallen to the ground. These must be closed in plastic bags and left in direct sun for 2 – 3 days for the heat to kill all larvae in the fruit. Alternatively, environmentally-friendly M3 bait stations (available at nurseries and farm supply shops) can be placed in fruit trees.
What does industry do?
The sterile insect technique (SIT) programme integrates a range of internationally recognised practices such as monitoring, host plant management, orchard hygiene, and sanitation, and the release of sterile insects to reduce insect numbers. SIT is merely birth control for insects. Millions of fruit flies (Mediterranean fruit fly) are reared at our facility in Stellenbosch. The male flies are sterilised and then released weekly in target areas. The steriles mate with the wild female flies which results in infertile eggs, and a decline in the population. This is a biological technique which is not harmful to humans, animals or the environment.