The Fruitfly Border

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When travelling along the Murray or Darling rivers, you are quite likely to run into a fruitfly checkpoint. This experience will come close to a drug search in Singapore or the East German border 20 years ago.


Please note the potato shaped fruitfly, historic model

We all don't like fruitfly maggots in our oranges , of course. So fruitflies are a real danger for Australian farmers who make their living on oranges, tomatoes, grapes and capsicums. Their produce will be banned for months from the U.S. if a single fruitfly is found, so this is no paranoia as some greenies might think.

But it is completely beyond me why the checkpoint are not outside the fruitfly free zone: Riverland SA Sunraysia (Mildura) in Victoria and NSW Riverina. You'd expect them, well just 50 kms behind the left sign.

  • Left: Victorian fruitfly, fat and mischievous
  • Above: SA fruitfly, border version skinny and mean.

Instead, there is a fruit inspection point on the Mallee and Sturt Highways between SA and Victoria, in the middle of the fruitfly-free zone.

You can easily smuggle a machine gun, an army tank, a battleship or an illicit still between SA and Victoria -but a Milduran fruitfly free chilli with a receipt proudly stating the fact it was bought there -that's simply not done.

It's okay, though, to carry a bag of oranges all the way to Queensland and back -if you come via Birdsville, Peterborough and Morgan, you won't meet one of these beauties. Still, your orange goes to the bin (below) if you take it from Mildura to Paringa.

  • Left:When leaving the sheltered area near Mildura, they become even meaner. That one just could drill a hole in your tyres.


Hence I finally arrived at the conclusion that the different breeds of fruitflies just shouldn't mix, after all.

But considering the costs of diesel and thus of transport now, SA farmers can't afford to export anything these days. Sadly enough, the government isn't worried about that at all. I hope they realize it before the orange trees disappear together with the fruitflies.

This is the reality about " Don't carry shotguns..." Well stick to the eleventh commandement:

Don't get caught!



In farm estates, nobody minds you shooting a camel, though. Or anything else that is neither cattle nor native. Just don't brag about it.