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Rural Not all insects are pests for your rural real estate.

Published on July 20th, 2016

Victoria takes the fight to the fruit fly

Rural Australians have to contend with a lot when it comes to protecting their property. Pests and disease of all kinds can end up creating serious issues not only for the finances of a person with rural real estate, but for everyone else nearby as well.

One of the most prevalent pests that cause such issues is that of the Queensland fruit fly, which can cause frustration to hobby farmers as well as full blown commercial operations. In fact, Victorian nectarine growers have been locked out of the significant Chinese market, which has total food and fibre exports of almost $3 billion a year for the state alone, according to the Victorian government. That's all due to the fruit fly.

Often, prevention is a matter of mitigation rather than proactivity: we are, after all, heavily outnumbered. However, that is about to change with the new plan from the Victorian government.

Not all insects are quite so beneficial.Not all insects are quite so beneficial.

Shoo pest!

"Cutting edge technology like this facility at Port Augusta is an excellent step forward."

Sterile insect technology or SIT is a basic tool that combats the spread of these pesky pests, and is the primary part of the SIT programme at a new rearing facility at Port Augusta in South Australia. This technology eliminates fruit flies by sterilising individual insects, then releasing them into the wild, thereby reducing the fertility of the total population. As a result, they are less able to reproduce, making it possible to fully eradicate them.

This system has also been used overseas, being used to control pink bollworm, codling moth, screw worm as well as fruit flies, and has been formally recognised by the International Plant Protection Convention. As such, it is understandable why the Victorian government has decided to pour nearly $1 million into the programme in the hopes of eliminating the Queensland fruit fly that plagues farmers.

"Fruit flies are a serious pest causing an estimated $300 million per year nationally towards control and lost market costs," explains Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford.

"Cutting edge technology like this facility at Port Augusta is an excellent step forward."

What you can do

This should be good news to everyone from hobby farmers to croppers, but the fact is that there is still plenty you can do as an individual to assist your farm and your fellow rural Australians. Keep an eye out for pests, report them to the correct authority if need be and ensure that you stay up to date with incoming potential issues. It isn't just about your property; it's about your regional neighbourhood too.

Looking to get involved in rural Australia? Get in touch with an Australian real estate agent today to discover a wide range of commercial farms and lifestyle plots. 

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