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How to control Fruit Fly Damage on citrus and fruit trees


July 27, 2022


Searles Gardening Team

If you’ve ever grown fruit of any kind, especially during spring and summer, you will know that fruit fly can be a real nuisance. However there is an easy solution to help control these pesky insects.


Here in our hot climate, fruit flies cause a lot of fruit loss from stinging the fruit. It is actually the female that is laying eggs in the fruit after mating with the male. The female lays the eggs just below the skin or surface of the fruit and this is what we see as the sting. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae of the fruit fly, which are small maggots at this stage, feed off the inside of the fruit before turning into adult fruit fly. The end result is spoilt fruit that goes rotten and is wasted.


The trick to stopping the females from stinging the fruit in the first place is to kill the male fruit fly before it mates with the female. You can do this by using Searles Fruit Fly Traps. Searles Fruit Fly Trap is a specially designed trap containing a fruit fly wick.


To use Searles fruit Fly traps, hang the fruit fly trap containing the fruit fly wick in the trees or shrubs surrounding the fruit. It is best to hang more than one trap around the fruit you are trying to protect. If you have numerous fruit trees or crops such as tomatoes, hang sufficient traps so as to surround the crop. By doing this, you will hopefully trap and kill the male fruit fly before they can enter into the area of the crop to mate with the females.


Each wick contains the pheromone of a female fruit fly in season, coupled with an insecticide. The male is attracted by the pheromone believing it is going to mate with the female. Following it’s natural instincts, the male fruit fly flies up to the wick, and when he lands on it, he is killed by the insecticide and falls into the trap.

By using Searles Fruit Fly Traps, you are helping to control the male fruit fly before he can mate with the female and hence, preventing the fruit from being stung.

Searles Fruit Fly Traps are very easy to use and do not require any spraying of chemicals. Each wick will last for approximately 3 months after the packet has been opened. After the 3 months has lapsed, you can purchase individual fruit fly wicks to replace the old wick in the trap. If your fruit are still being stung even after installing the traps, you may then need to spray with an effective fruit fly spray such as Dimethoate. When doing so, be sure to read and follow all safety and application directions and observe the period of time that is required to pass before any fruit can be consumed.


It is very important to practice good hygiene when dealing with fruit fly. Fruit fly are attracted to the smell of rotten or spoilt fruit. Always remove any rotten, stung or spoilt fruit from the fruit tree and from the ground below the crop as these will actually attract fruit fly. If you are intending to compost these spoilt fruit, do so as far away from your crop as possible and do not leave the fruit exposed to the air. Chooks, ducks and geese make excellent cleaners around fruit crops as they consume any fruit that falls to the ground as well as eating the flies themselves.

NOTE: If you do not catch any fruit fly in your trap, you may be lucky enough to be in an area that is fruit fly free. At certain times of the year, fruit fly are relatively dormant depending on where you live. They are far more active as the weather warms up and in hot conditions, but like all flies, they are not active in the cold.