THE YELLOW DEVIL.
FRUIT FLY AND ITS RAVAGES.
Captain R. S. Pitt, of Sunnybank, writes:— “A great deal has been said about the destruction of the fruit fly, but up to the present practically nothing gas been done. During the last citrus season, the north coast suffered considerably. Even the Stanthorpe district, which experienced a severe winter, has suffered. The south coast, too, is badly infected. Thus practically the whole of the fruit growing districts of Queensland are suffering enormous losses through the agency the little “yellow devil,” for truly no better name could be given to the fruit fly.
Some time ago Mr. A. Harvey, of Albion Park nursery, concocted a lure which would attract, the fruit fly. He gave several demonstrations as to its efficacy to the director of fruit culture (Mr. Benson) and inspectors of the department, hoping that something would be done to put this lure on the market and thus enable alt fruit-growers to rid their orchards of this terrible pest. So far nothing has been done. Mr. Gillies told a deputation of growers the other day that they were still experimenting with the Harvey lure. By from what I can see of Mr. Gillies and his department, they will be experimenting for a long time yet. If they only had the terrible losses (which, of course, mean money) to put up with as the growers have they would have acted long ago. We get a lot of talk but deeds speak louder than words. Twelve mouths ago Mr. Harvey visited my orchard at Sunnybank to try his lure among the lemons, and during the day he was successful in catching only four flies. The reason for this small “catch,” Mr. Harvey explained, was that it was necessary to have as a medium a “solanum,” which acts as a great harbour for the fruit fly. At Mr. Harvey’s invitation I visited his nursery at Albion Park, and to my astonishment when the lure was put into a “solanum” it acted like magic. Hoe advised me to have two of these trees planted among the lemons. I took out two lemons and, in their place I planted the solanums, which have now grown into lovely trees, and have attracted the fruit fly by the hundreds. Having satisfied myself that this is the real medium for the fly, I again visited Mr. Harvey for the purpose of getting some of his lure to try in the solatium. I am well satisfied with the results for in 14 days. I have caught 712 flies, which should be a very good test as to the efficacy of the lure.
Now as to the sex part of the fly, Mr. Benson informed me that the Harvey lure would only catch the male fly. That is nonsense, for out of a catch of 32, which Mr. W. Soutter, of Sunnybank, examined with a glass, there were 11 females, 17 males, and 4 doubtful. That is plain proof. It is my intention to exhibit the flies which I have caught in the Intelligence Bureau: I have them in a bottle of methylated spirits. The solacum grows very easily in the coastal districts, and I would strongly advise all growers to plant at least one.
I think it is up to the Government to take this matter seriously in hand. If it does not, in the course of a few years there will not be any fruit fit to market. The fruit fly is increasing by thousands every year. The Government should pass legislation to compel every grower of fruit, even if he has only one tree, to use the lure, and thus destroy this pest from our midst.
From The Daily Mail, Monday 28 February 1921, page 5.
Image: State Nursery display at the Exhibition, Brisbane, 1912, SLQ 99183857297602061, State Library of Queensland.