Last year, most of my tomatoes had dimples, rotten patches and gaping holes dug out of them. I had caught slaters burrowing into the fruit and making the holes but I wasn't able to work out what was causing the rotting. I did however notice that there were lots of little flies around but didn't think anything of it.
The damaged fruit looked like this:
Mystery rot on an unripe Costoluto di Marmande tomato.
Slater burrows in an unripe Grosse Lisse.
The other day, I picked my first tomato of the year (harvest is late this year because of the Christmas Day hail storm that wiped out most of my tomatoes), I was so excited, but soon excitement turned to horror when one of my fingers sunk into the soft rotten flesh of my first tomato. To add to the trauma a whole lot of maggots proceeded to emerge from the wound and (after taking a photo for ID) I threw it to the chickens who promptly devoured it with much raucous delight!
So, to Google I went with my conundrum and my conclusion is that, yes, indeed I do have Fruit Fly in the garden and holy moley I have to inform the DPI (Department of Primary Industries)! The fruit fly will probably be Queensland fruit fly which has been in Melbourne since 2008. If you are in Melbourne or outer Melbourne have a read of SGA's article about fruit fly. Make sure you inspect fruit regularly because its not just tomatoes they like. They affect citrus, pears, apples, peaches, capsicums - the list goes on! I'm sure all Victorians are aware of the damage fruit fly can do to our fruit growing industry - we've all seen the signs when driving into fruit producing districts and know not to take fruit into those areas. To think that fruit fly is in my garden is almost too much!
Come Monday morning, I'll be contact the DPI on the Fruit Fly hotline on 1300 135 559 to see what they say. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.