Greenfingers TV presenter educates viewers on Perth’s mediterranean fruit fly

Gardener TV presenter Trevor Cochrane with UWA PhD candidate Isabel Arevalo-Vigne. Picture: Marcelo Palacios d428358
Gardener TV presenter Trevor Cochrane with UWA PhD candidate Isabel Arevalo-Vigne. Picture: Marcelo Palacios d428358

EVERYONE with a fruit tree in their back yard must help fight Perth's fruit fly plague, says The Garden Gurus managing director and Perth Hills resident Trevor Cochrane.

On his latest TV series Greenfingers, Cochrane explains what a coming ban on a traditional mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) pesticide will mean for hobby fruit growers and professionals alike.

The medfly situation is most severe in built-up suburbs such as Kalamunda and Roleystone, where backyard growers’ pest populations easily transfer to commercial orchards.

‘This is the single biggest issue Perth gardeners will face in the next few years,’ Cochrane said.

‘The trend now is to grow your own produce and fruit fly will spoil that, but the knock-on effect to Hills orchardists is massive.’

Cochrane himself lives on a 1.5-acre property, which he said was home to 38 of WA’s then-42 declared weeds when he moved in eight years ago.

Now it is carbon-neutral and fully sustainable and produces more food than Cochrane and his friends, family and neighbours can use.

The surplus goes to charities such as Welshpool-based Foodbank and Thornlie-based Manna industries.

As well as growing herbs and vegetables and raising poultry and fish, the property has 170 types of fruit trees.

They are protected by a boundary of baited medfly traps, inside which baits hang every four metres, along with backup sticky traps.

For the next episode of Greenfingers, he and PhD candidate Isabel Arevalo-Vigne show residents how to control medfly at home.

‘We’ve got to get that message across ” if it’s on your crop it’s on your neighbour’s, so we’ve all got to play our part,’ Cochrane said.

‘If it’s not controlled the implications are really terrible for WA ” if our local growers lose their crops we will be open to imports, irradiated fruit, new pests and diseases and the nutrition value will go down.

‘We want to arm people with the knowledge they need.’

– The medfly segment airs on Greenfingers on Saturday, November 8, at 5.30pm on Channel 9.

Read more: Fruit fly battle shock