This week, Federal Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, was in Adelaide to herald the beginning of the region’s SITplus release program; combating recent outbreaks of Queensland fruit fly by releasing millions of sterile flies into the environment via airplane. Using what is known as Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), the idea is in many ways simple: the sterile flies become the seemingly ideal but ill-fated partners to the region’s wild population. As they mate with no outcome, the population decreases.

It’s an approach that is anticipated to become an integral component of Australian efforts to help control Queensland Fruit Fly; but for SIT to be most effective, areas must first manage Qfly populations to achieve adequate levels for the program to be implemented.

Area-Wide Management (AWM) is the preferred method for this. This proven management approach for mobile pests around the world employs a united strategy to target all pest habitats within a well-defined area or region and reduce Qfly populations.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has enlisted Hort Innovation (as part of the Hort Frontiers Fruit Fly Fund) and CSIRO to produce an online tool to help anyone undertake an Area-Wide Management program. The comprehensive guidelines explain both the fruit fly itself and the AWM program; how to implement and maintain AWM; and the subsequent opportunities for the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) once the program has been successfully run.

To be most effective, Area-Wide Management requires input from the whole community. Because of this, the website offers three different sets of steps in implementing AWM, depending on whether the user is a coordinator, a commercial grower or a backyard gardener. Each section has video content outlining the steps. Plus, there’s a range of useful materials and information, including all the science and research that formed the foundation of the guidelines, and even downloadable posters and fact sheets.

Whether you know a little or a lot about Queensland fruit fly, the website is the essential place to begin in combating one of horticulture’s enduring little enemies.

Visit it now at

The Adaptive Area wide management of Qfly using SIT project is being delivered by Hort Innovation, and is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture & Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program, and CSIRO.