Auckland's fruit fly problem continues

Monday, 11 March, 2019

Auckland's fruit fly problem continues

After finding another two fruit flies in Auckland, biosecurity officials are considering whether further restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables are necessary to prevent the spread.

A fourth male Queensland fruit fly was found in Northcote and another facialis fruit fly was found in Ōtara.

The Northcote find is approximately 80 metres inside the current Zone A, but no further restrictions are required in the suburb and instructions for residents inside the Northcote Controlled Areas remain the same. However, the Ōtara find is 630 metres to the north of the last find inside the current Zone B, prompting another Zone A to be established, which will mean restrictions on a different area.

Queensland fruit flies have been detected in New Zealand several times previously and pose a significant risk to the country's horticulture industry, while facialis fruit flies can harm home gardens and horticultural crops. Officials say both types are difficult to catch at the border because they can arrive as eggs or tiny larvae concealed inside fruit, but they have been working hard to eradicate this threat.

"Our extensive surveillance program is continuing, including trapping, visual inspection of backyard gardens and fruit trees, and collection and laboratory examination of fallen fruit," said Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie.

"To date we have cut and examined around 300 kg of fruit in our mobile laboratory, which was gathered from Zone A backyards on the North Shore, and almost 500 kg in Ōtara. We have yet to find any fruit fly larvae."

People living in Ōtara are being urged to check if they are living in either zone or what this means for them.

Similar controls on the movement of export fruit to those put in place in Northcote will be established in Ōtara. Biosecurity New Zealand is working with the community and horticulture industry partners, but states "we expect this to have little, if any, practical impact on fruit exports".

No new Queensland fruit flies have been found in Devonport since the only find there on 14 February 2019.

"Given the proximity of Devonport to Northcote, we will reconsider next week whether we need to continue with movement controls in Devonport," said Duthie.

For detailed maps of the controlled areas and a full description of the boundaries, click here.

Image credit: ©

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