Damage

Queensland Fruit Fly Damage

Queensland Fruit Fly damage starts with the injury to the fruit skin, as the QFF female leaves a pinprick mark commonly called a “sting”. Several attempts can be had at fruit.

QFF laying eggs, credit Dr. John Golding

QFF laying eggs, credit Dr. John Golding

QFF stings on a peach

QFF stings on a peach

Harder, less ripe fruit can suffer less, and sometimes “stings” are unsuccessful. Other fruit, particularly soft fruits and riper fruits are ideal for the QFF’s ovipositor to successfully enter and deposit eggs. Different pests can also cause skin blemishes and damage and QFF can also lay eggs in areas of the fruit already damaged (e.g. codling moth damage). This and the effect of a QFF “sting” on different fruits at varying stages can both cause difficulty in diagnosis on first visual inspections.

Once the larvae hatch from the egg, microbes assist the fruit flesh to rot and decompose, usually browning and with a jelly consistency. The larvae can suck up the fruit jelly with it’s two narrow jaws. As the larvae get bigger and the fruit decomposes more, the larvae move around more and can often be found in the centre of the fruit where there is protection from the elements and protection from animals eating the fruit flesh. In citrus, e.g. lemon, the larvae is hard to find as it’s translucent body colour can easily be camouflaged by the lemon segments and pith and the larvae might not always centre itself. Often rot can start to affect the exterior of the fruit once the internal damage is progressed.

QFF in peaches YV with stone_1

QFF larvae and rotten flesh of a peach

QFF larvae in a lemon

QFF larvae in a lemon

Fruit with QFF can not be traded or sold, and only moved if it is commercially necessary to dispose of the fruit off the production site, and an approved method of transport and approved receival process is adhered to. All other suspect QFF damaged fruit requires appropriate disposal.