Fruit Fly: Protect Your Crop

Australia is home to more than 150 native species of fruit fly, but only a few of them pose a threat in the garden.

There are two main types of fruit fly. The Drosophilidae family, often called the vinegar fly which is the one you see around compost bins and fruit bowls. It’s tiny, between two and four millimetres in length, and can range in colour from pale yellow through to black.

The other is from the Tephritidae family which includes the two main flies affecting Australia’s backyard gardeners and commercial growers. There’s the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni), which is found on the east coast of Australia and, although it can’t fly too far, spreads easily by jumping from backyard to backyard. It’s hugely adaptable to its environment, so as climates change and backyards become more productive, this insect is becoming increasingly invasive and can’t be ignored. It’s larger than the vinegar fly, around seven millimetres in length, it’s reddish-brown in colour and easily identifiable by its distinct yellow markings.