Fruit growers around Jarrahdale are encouraged to attend a Mediterranean fruit fly update on Thursday, January 17.

The meeting is being convened by the Department of Agriculture and Food to report on its research and fruit fly monitoring results.

Department senior research officer Sonya Broughton said Jarrahdale was an important focus area in testing alternative ways to control Medfly after restrictions on the use of traditional cover sprays.

"The department began monitoring Medfly numbers in late September and we now have about 130 traps in the area which are checked each week," Dr Broughton said. "This monitoring will continue for the rest of the fruit harvest season and through the winter to help gain a clearer understanding of fruit fly numbers and what works to control them."

More than 80 monitoring traps are set on commercial properties, 14 within the town, 19 on small landholder properties and others in bush areas.

The research project is supported by Horticulture Australia Ltd and Fruit West.

"We are seeing a huge difference between fly numbers on commercial properties and small landholders," Dr Broughton said. "At this point, the town site does not appear to be contributing significantly to the Medfly population."

On three commercial orchards where limited cover spraying with fenthion is being compared with baiting, Medfly numbers are showing higher and erratic fluctuations on the cover spray properties compared with much lower numbers where baiting is used.

More details of these findings will be provided at the update meeting, which starts at 6pm at the Borg packing shed in Lyster Road, Jarrahdale. Commercial fruit growers and interested others are welcome.

The West Australian

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