3066: Creating a novel lure and kill device for Queensland fruit fly

Project Number


Project Type & Status


Project Leader


Dr Paul Cunningham
Dr Mark Schutze
Dr Bronwen Cribb
Dr Mike Furlong

Impact Delivery Themes

3066: Creating a novel lure and kill device for Queensland fruit fly

This project will carry out strategic research on female Bactrocera tryoni that will lead to the development of a novel lure-and-kill control device for this insect.

What is the biosecurity problem this project aims to resolve/improve?

Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly, Bactrocera tryoni) is the most serious insect pest of horticulture in eastern Australia. Pre-harvest control of Q-fly has previously been achieved through either the use of dimethoate and fenthion or the maintenance of area freedom. Both of these approaches are being lost and new tools for fruit fly management are essential.

Arguably the biggest gap in applying Integrated Pest Management against Q-fly is killing the female fly. Our aim is to develop an affordable device that is better at attracting female flies than existing protein-bait, effective over larger distances, and utilises delivery technology such that it needs only be applied once per month (or longer). Such an attractant device, mixed with a pesticide, offers a lure-and-kill control tool that would be used in parallel with the Male Annihilation Technique to give total fruit fly control – thus meeting the research priority.

Project Summary

In the absence of dimethoate and fenthion, control of Q-fly will rely heavily on two existing lure-and-kill approaches. The first of these uses cue-lure and insecticide to lure and kill males; the second uses protein and insecticide to lure and kill females.

Unfortunately, CRCNPB project 40088 (Pre-harvest fruit fly) demonstrated proteins to be poor attractants for Q-fly and a new, more effective female attractant is needed. HAL has funded QUT to research a Q-fly female lure based on chemical blends of host fruit odours. However, a wealth of international research on fruit-based lures for fruit flies has demonstrated that visual cues are as important in attracting female flies as the fruit chemicals and that physical and chemical cues need to be combined.

Our objectives for the PBCRC project are thus to:

  1. utilise existing and new research to optimise a ‘fruit type’ physical attractant for female Q-fly
  2. identify if other plant features (especially silhouette and background) add to female Q-fly attraction and determine how these are incorporated into an attractant device, and
  3. link physical and chemical attractants (as developed through HAL funding) to create a novel fruit fly female attractant device.

End users will be growers of fruit fly susceptiblecrops.


Economic: Q-fly is the major pest of Australia’s billion dollar horticulture industry. Significant positive economic impacts will result from increasing in-field control of Q-fly. Economic impacts will not be made during the life of the project, but will stem from subsequent commercial development of research outcomes.

Environmental: Non-target impacts and environmental contamination are minimised by the use of species specific lure-and-kill devices, as compared to conventionalal cover-spray pesticide applications. As above, environmental impacts are post-life of the current project and dependent on commercial adoption of the technology.

Social: Social impacts are indirect and will derive from improved fruit fly management, more viable horticultural industries, and increased sustainability of rural communities. These benefits are long-term and reliant on wider industry adoption of IPM methodologies for fruit fly control.


Partners in this Project