Check your home-grown fruit and veggies for maggots

Have you seen maggots in your home-grown fruit or vegetables? Agriculture Victoria are encouraging south-west residents to check their gardens and orchards for maggots, to support efforts to monitor for fruit flies in the region.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Project Officer Domestic Quarantine Lavinia Zirnsak said residents should contact Agriculture Victoria if they suspect they have fruit fly maggots in their garden, fruit tree or veggie patch.

‘Fruit fly maggots are often found in the centre of the fruit. Themaggotsare 5 to 10mm long and creamy-white in colour.’

‘Fruit flies are usually active from September to May, so now is the time to keep a look-out in your garden or on your farm to see if they are present,’ Ms Zirnsak said.

The south-west is at a greater risk of fruit flies spreading from across the border after recent Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks in South Australia.

Mediterranean fruit fly is an exotic species to Victoria and is a significant threat to the state’s multi-million-dollar fruit and vegetable industries.

Ms Zirnsak said anyone who reports a suspect fruit fly infestation within the region will receive a free collection kit from Agriculture Victoria with instructions for submitting a sample for testing.

‘It’s as simple as placing the maggot infested piece of fruit or vegetable into a sealed plastic bag and sending it to our laboratory for identification, and then the sender will be notified of the result,’ she said.

There are techniques you can use in your home garden to protect your fruit and vegetables.

Ms Zirnsak said it’s important to follow good garden hygiene such as regularly monitoring for presence in your garden, picking fruit and vegetables as they ripen and disposing of unwanted fruit and scraps carefully.

‘Other control methods include protecting trees, plants and produce through netting, gazebos and bags, baiting and trapping and using insecticide control,’ Ms Zirnsak said.

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