So last week I mentioned that a building inspector from the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) came to inspect our building and said that the balcony garden was against code.

I’ll keep you updated, but what’s your thoughts on this whole situation?
Video Rating: / 5

Department of Agriculture and Food WA

Managing Mediterranean fruit fly in backyards

Learn about the best practices to control fruit fly in your garden, by hygiene, baiting and trapping. Our fruit fly expert, Ernie Steiner, from the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, explains as he stands amongst home fruit trees. He also shows you how to make your own homemade fruit fly trap from household products.
Additional tips
For more homemade recipes using household products, visit:
While these following pages are aimed at commercial growers, there are many tips that are beneficial for the home gardener:
Wondering what DAFWA does on a commercial level to control Mediterranean fruit fly? Read about our sterile Mediterranean fruit fly project happening in Carnarvon.

In the video is:
Ernie Steiner, Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia


The fruit fly in Western Australia is an enormous problem for commercial fruit producers and is also a menace to the backyard fruit growers.

It renders fruit inedible and it’s been with us since 1895. Mediterranean fruit fly is about the size of a housefly, it’s brown in colour, has got patterned wings, quite an attractive fly, but a devastating menace.
One of the things we would like to get people involved with, is the use of a calendar at home, to actually mark when their fruit is about to be harvested and even before that, when the fruit is half formed and with these stages of fruit development, you can time your activities.

Having a fruit tree is a little bit like having a pet, and of course, you must clean up after it. Pick up fallen fruit and put it into a black plastic bag, seal up the bag and then leave it in the sun for a week. This will kill off any eggs or larvae maggots that are in the fruit.

Organic foliar fruit fly baits are available and I’ve got one here, and we just going to measure the solution, putting it into the water. So this contains molasses and a natural insecticide to kill off the fruit fly.

It’s always important to read the label. It will give you specific ways in which you can mix and apply the fruit fly foliar bait.

We’re just using a simple home type pressure sprayer, pump up type. Just going to give this a few pumps [pump, pump, pump] and what we want to do when we apply the foliar bait is to have it coming out as the course steam, so we are putting a food source onto the leaves, that’s going to attract the fruit fly and kill them.

Baiting should be done at least once a week and preferably twice a week in the warmer months.

Fruit fly trapping is an effective way of reducing the fruit fly population in your backyard and reducing the damage to your fruit.

You can either buy a commercial trap or you can make your own from a cool drink bottle.

Starting with the container of water to which we are adding 50 mL of cloudy ammonia, which you can buy at the supermarket. Adding to that, a tablespoon of sugar, 5 mL of vanilla essence, 1 tablespoon of the yeast extract and then mix it in.

So you want to fill this just to below the holes that you’ve put in with your soldering iron, and it’s ready to go.
Once you put your trap in place, keep an eye on the solution and we recommend changing the lure every week.

And another way to prevent fruit fly damage is to prevent access of the fruit fly to your fruit. You can do this by either using netting or you can buy commercially available bags. Paper bags or cloth bags or mesh bags are all available.

Following all those control practices will enable you to enjoy your homegrown fruit.
End of transcript

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You can also find Department of Agriculture and Food WA on

Update: Is a Balcony Garden Against Building Code?

About The Author


  • Dale Calder

    Sounds like he doesn't know what he was talking about and doesn't want to back down or admit that he made a mistake. No doubt he gets a better performance review if he makes lots of citations. Most people would just comply with the citation thinking he had the law behind him. He likely gets away with this a lot. 

  • Mike Lieberman

    @benbangui Check Urban Organic Gardener (dot) com //self-watering-containers/how-to-make-a-self-watering-container/ for the how to on making them.

  • benbangui

    i like the garden in the 5gal buckets! do you have holes drilled in the bottom for drainage? how do you set one of those lil buckets up? 🙂 i think my wife is gonna like that idea! :)

  • Nates Homestead Lifestyle

    I know that the fire marshal cited the dorms that I lived in for a while because we had objects (our stuff) in boxes on both sides of the hall just like the guy in the video has things on both sides of the balcony. I can see where the inspector is coming from… if for some reason EMT needed to pass with a gurney they would not be able to pass through there. Granted there are stair wells on both sides, so it should not be an issue…

  • traveln3

    these small minded people in authority are the biggest threats to innovative thinkers. when someone is smart enough to use their outdoor space for food they are harrassed.

  • Sasha Catrina (Queen of Wands)

    That is some bullshit…Tell him to suck it…In a really educated, well informed, manner of course…I think what you have been doing is great! He is just jealous and envious of your awesomeness…

  • mrbr549

    Don't you just love bureaucracy? These people have nothing better to do then harass citizens? You're best bet would be to move out of the city. Barring that, you might as well start moving things off the balcony now as they will harass you until you do. Once your name is passed around different departments and you are labeled as a "troublemaker", you will get no peace. You might try contacting the press as they always like human interest stories. Good luck!

  • Prophetic End Times

    Well please let us know the out come I just prayed again with a good friend who also didnt see the prob except with the one big planter..:) Maybe if you could put the containers against the railing (via 1 row) instead of 2 theyd go for it. Your neighbor next door looks like he has plants..did they tell him he had to get rid of his too?

  • hanadunk

    I did the trap how you guys explain it but i got a lot of geckos into the bottle killing them!! i dont know if it is a good idea. The holes on the bottles where like in the video too. i dont know if it will work with smaller holes.

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