Groundbreaking spotting bug lure boosts production for Queensland growers

News release | 25-Jul-2017

A Queensland Government-developed pest lure and trap, 25 years under development, has been released to assist the state’s fruit and nut growers boost production and slash control costs.

Banana spotting bug is a major threat to the production of many of Queensland’s most loved crops, including avocado, banana, cashews, custard apple, macadamia, mango, blueberry, papaya, guava, lychee, passionfruit, citrus and other tree crops.

The lure and trap relies on a synthetic pheromone that simulates the bug’s own attractant. Growers will be able to use the lure and specially designed trap to detect the bug’s presence, and then only apply pesticides if and when they are required.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has led the development and commercialisation of the lure and trap – an initiative that has taken more than a quarter of a century of work, and expertise, to refine.

The last stage of the research was co-funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using avocado, custard apple, lychee, macadamia, passionfruit and papaya industry levies and funds from the Australian Government.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries senior entomologist Ian Newton said banana spotting bugs are difficult to see as they are camouflaged and shy away from movement, which makes monitoring extremely difficult.

“As a result, some growers will often wait until damage is already done, or resort to calendar spraying, which results in too many unnecessary sprays,” Dr Newton said.

“The trap allows growers to make informed decisions on when to spray, based on real-time bug pressure. This trap results in spray cost savings, improved fruit quality and reduced losses.”

The trap is now available to all growers to purchase for the first time, under commercial arrangements with Organic Crop Protectants, and will be stocked by most agricultural supply retailers.

“OCP is proud to be part of the development of the BSB Trap and Lure,” OCP managing director Gary Leeson said.

“The clean and green image of Australian produce and more importantly the protection of Queensland’s precious natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef relies on the development and implementation of innovative low environmental risk solutions to crop pests.

“Insect pheromone technology and trapping like the BSB Lure and Trap will help Queensland farmers better predict and control this key pest which is a triple bottom line result for all involved.”

Media contact: Andrea Corby, 07 3330 4551