Prevention, detection and eradication of fruit fly

South Australia is fruit fly free. An outbreak can only occur if maggot-infested fruit or vegetables are brought into the state.

Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) uses quarantine restrictions, early detection and eradication measures to prevent and manage outbreaks.


We prevent fruit fly from coming into South Australia, and particularly the Riverland, through:


Trapping sites

Biosecurity SA has a series of fruit fly traps as part of the measures to ensure South Australia remains fruit fly free. Trapping sites are located in:

  • metropolitan Adelaide
  • the northern Adelaide Plains
  • the Adelaide Hills
  • the Riverland
  • Port Augusta
  • Ceduna.

Public alerts

Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility. We rely on you to tell us if you:

  • find maggots in your fruit and vegetables
  • have seen fruit flies.

Call the fruit fly hotline on 1300 666 010.


When fruit flies are found we immediately deploy additional traps in the immediate area and check fruiting trees to see if larvae are present.  If an isolated detection becomes a declared outbreak, we:

  • quarantine an area 1.5km radius around the site
  • destroy all fruit on infested  trees growing in the quarantine area
  • stop raw fruit from being taken out of the area
  • eradicate all fruit flies using bait spotting and sterile insect technique
  • pick up any fallen fruit within the quarantine area
  • manage green waste disposal from the quarantine area to make sure that it is appropriately treated.

Bait spotting

We use bait spotting to destroy fruit flies.
Spots of organic fruit fly bait are applied onto plants once or twice a week for several weeks. The baits attract and kill the fruit flies.

The bait is made with Naturalure™ fruit fly bait concentrate diluted with water. Naturalure™ has been certified as organic by Biological Farmers of Australia.

Sterile insect technology

Sterile insect technology (SIT) is a method where sterile male flies are released to mate with wild female fruit flies, which reduces offspring production.

Where applicable during a response, we release sterile fruit flies into the quarantine area after completing bait spotting. The decision to release sterile flies is made in consultation with entomologists and based on factors such as the time of year at which detections are made and the number of flies discovered.

During a sterile fly release, 100,000 sterile flies are released per square kilometre once or twice a week for up to 12 weeks.

Releasing sterile fruit flies limits the chances of wild fruit flies reproducing. Eggs laid after the sterile and wild fruit flies mate will be infertile.

Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) facility

The $3.8 million National Sterile Insect Technology facility has been constructed in Port Augusta to assist in the fight against fruit fly. It ensures South Australia remains fruit fly free and is at the forefront of fruit fly management nationally. It will produce 50 million sterile male Queensland fruit flies each week once fully operational. The flies will be released to mate with females, collapsing wild populations in fruit fly affected horticulture growing regions across Australia and New Zealand.

This high-tech facility will develop a male-only line of sterile Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly) for release during future Q-fly outbreaks in South Australia. They will also be used for controlling Q-fly in all affected horticulture growing regions around Australia.

The SIT facility is supported by SITPlus, a national $45 million research and development program a research partnership. The SITPlus program is led by Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd, in partnership with:

  • the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Plant and Food Research Australia
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • Macquarie University.


Architectural drawings of SIT facility:

Architect Designs for Port Augusta sterile Q-fly plant released - media release 22 December 2014

Find out more

Page Last Reviewed: 08 Dec 2014
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