In Australia, there are 2 main species of fruit flies which threaten up to half of the $13 billion horticultural industry. They reproduce at a rapid rate by depositing larvae within fruits and some above ground vegetables, which feed on the fruits, spoiling and making them unsaleable.
While fruit growers have a number of control measures they can take in order to limit the damage fruit flies cause to their produce, speed is of the essence in order to stop the damage caused by fruit flies as fast as possible.
Using data collected from 7500 fly detection sites around South Australia, FlyAlert would allow authorities to automatically alert growers to the presence of fruit flies in their local areas. Notifications are sent through SMS to registered agricultural producers in concerned areas in order to reach as many of them as possible, allowing them to react quickly to new outbreaks.
Additionally, collected fruit fly surveillance data is used to build a map dashboard accessible to officials from PIRSA or other relevant authorities, displaying information about all fruit fly trapping stations across the state.
Fly alert consists of 2 main components: a reporting and visualising app for inspectors, and automatic text messages to affected producers.
The FlyAlert app is intended for government officials and inspectors on the field, allowing them to report back the status of any fruit fly traps in the state. It also contains a map dashboard showing the current status of all traps in the state providing them with the information to decide which traps to check and when.
FlyAlert would also consist of a web portal where growers can sign up to receive alerts and information through SMS if fruit flies are detected in their area. We selected SMS messages as the means of the alert in order to reach as many possible fruit producers in affected areas, especially if they are remote.
Once inspectors update the status of any fruit fly traps, indicating the presence or absence of the pest, if the fly is found in significant numbers in an area, an alert is automatically issued by SMS to registered growers in the surrounding areas. This allows for growers to react quickly and take appropriate measure to protect their fruits such as installing protective nets and disposing of spoiled fruits.
The alerts are only sent to growers in affected areas, protecting them from potential prejudice from other growers in non-affected areas which may cause their business to suffer. Potentially the system could also be expanded to detect and issue alerts for pests such as varroa mites, or include a self-reporting tool by farmers for infections such as foot and mouth disease in their livestock, while still preserving their privacy.