BENDIGO'S back yard growers have been encouraged to try a new fruit option to avoid a destructive pest.
An orchardist has suggested people consider planting a cherry tree, with an early crop making it less vulnerable to the effects of fruit fly.
Outbreaks of the Queensland fruit fly have left unlucky Bendigo gardeners devastated during the past four summers, as they destroyed crops.
Read more: Fruit fly battle resumes as weather warms
Carr's Organic Fruit Tree Nursery owner Katie Finlay said the early picking season for cherry trees meant they were less likely to be attacked by the fruit fly.
Ms Finlay said fruit fly were most common from midsummer onward, as the weather warmed.
Cherries fruit from late November to early January.
"The thing with fruit fly is they emerge only when the weather gets to a certain temperature, then they tend to get worse over the season," she said.
"So things you can pick very early in their summer are much less likely to get attached by fruit fly. The longer they're on the tree, the more likely they are to get attacked by fruit fly."
Ms Finlay said cherries had a bad reputation, but were easy to grow.
She said she'd never lost a crop to disease or pest at her Harcourt farm.
Ms Finlay said at most cherries needed netting to protect from birds, but Bendigo fruit growers should net trees to protect from fruit fly regardless.
"People often think about a peach or an apple, or a plum tree. People will often put in an ornamental cherry. But actually the fruiting cherries are every bit as beautiful," she said.
Ms Finlay said every backyard should have at least one fruit tree, as an important way to help people improve their food security.
The Queensland fruit fly is a pest species, which lays its eggs inside fruit.
Maggots hatch between two and four days later then eat the fruit, often causing it to rot.
Infested fruit can seem to be in good condition from the outside, but the damage can become visible when it is cut open.
Maggots chew their way out of the fruit when it has finished growing, then burrow into the soil.
These then turn into pupa, which develop into the adult fruit fly, ready to lay their eggs.
For fruit fly information, visit: bit.ly/37mHw4U
To find out more about cherries, visit: mafg.com.au
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