Third-generation grower Anthony Caccetta grew up working on his father’s Karragullen orchard.
He now leases his own orchards, one in Karragullen and one in Roleystone.
Since federal regulations about use of the pesticide Fenthion changed last year, he is one of many growers ” surveyed by the Hills Orchard Improvement Group (HOIG) ” who have seen Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) populations explode. HOIG spokesman Brett DelSimone said commercial crop studies this season had shown an influx of Medfly from external sources, and alternative controls were insufficient for the outbreak.
Mr Caccetta said fruit fly was worse in built-up Roleystone than in Karragullen.
‘I use the same practices, but in Roleystone all my Pink Lady apples were struck 87 days before harvest ” I’ve already lost 25 per cent of my crop,’ he said.
Mr DelSimone hopes better public education can benefit all growers, backyard and commercial, at this critical time, when wet and warm weather can coax fly pupae back out of the soil.
Mr DelSimone said people could help local growers by staying alert for signs of backyard crop infestation, finding adult flies in traps, or looking for strikes on fruit, which looked like small black indents.
‘Prevention is better than cure and you can expect your crop will be under attack,’ he said.
‘Acting late is better than not acting at all. Commercial growers desperately need help ” each fly Perth residents stop is one less we have to deal with.’