Eradication of Queensland fruit fly

A small, confined population of Queensland fruit fly was declared eradicated from the Auckland area of Grey Lynn at 2pm on 4 December 2015.


New Zealand is Queensland fruit fly-free

The restrictions associated with our eradication programme, which began in February 2015, have been lifted. The Controlled Area, which took in parts of Grey Lynn, Kingsland and Ponsonby, is removed. Fruit and vegetables may now be moved freely through and out of the area.

Revocation of Controlled Area notice [PDF, 213 KB]

The horticulture industry and MPI thank the local residents and businesses for cooperating in the eradication effort. We know it has been inconvenient and your efforts are appreciated.

What happened?

A small population of the Queensland fruit fly was found in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn in February 2015. The first fly was found during a routine inspection of MPI's fruit-fly traps. A small population was soon found nearby.

The Grey Lynn traps are part of a nationwide network of 7,600 traps. These are intended to provide an early warning when unwanted flies arrive.

Responding to the threat

A Controlled Area was set up around where the population was found. For 1.5km in each direction:

  • restrictions were placed on the movement of fruit and vegetables
  • fruit trees were baited to attract and kill fruit flies
  • fruit from local trees was regularly inspected for signs of the fly, its eggs, or larvae (maggots).
Map of Auckland with orange circle showing controlled area, around Grey Lynn.
The Controlled Area (orange) extended 1.5km from the original find. The red circle extended 200m from the find and was the area of highest risk with the toughest restrictions (known as the A Zone).

2015 Queensland fruit fly response at a glance [PDF, 771 KB]

Successful eradication

No further Queensland fruit flies have been trapped since March 2015. We're now satisfied the science-based requirements have been met to declare New Zealand fruit-fly free.

Map of Auckland covered with hundreds of red dots, one for each trap.
Density of fruit-fly traps in Auckland.

Keeping vigilant

Although Queensland fruit fly has been eradicated, it will take a big effort from all New Zealanders to keep it out. If traveling abroad, don't bring fresh fruit or vegetables home. If you do, declare this on your Arrival Card when you return and encourage visitors to do the same.

If you see a fruit fly or its maggots in fruit, call our pest-and-disease hotline immediately – 0800 80 99 66.

Three pictures: fruit fly on leaf, larvae in fruit, scientist checking trap.
Left: Adult fruit fly. Middle: Fruit fly maggots. Right: MPI sets and checks 7,600 fruit-fly traps nationally.

Queensland fruit fly surveillance

MPI has had a dedicated fruit-fly trapping programme since the 1970s. It provides early warning of unwanted arrivals and also helps to assure export customers that the pest is not present in New Zealand. The programme watches for 100 species of unwanted fruit flies, including Queensland fruit fly.

  • 7,600 traps are set around the country.
  • Pheromones are used to lure flies into the traps.
  • Most traps are placed near airports, seaports, and densely populated areas – where flies would most likely enter the country.

Trapping runs from September till June, when fruit flies are active. Any catches trigger a response similar to the one in Grey Lynn.

About Queensland fruit fly

The Queensland fruit fly is a native of Australia, where it is the country's most serious insect pest of fruit and vegetable crops. It has spread to Pacific countries such as New Caledonia.

Queensland fruit flies belong to the fly family Tephritidae, which includes more than 4,500 species. Most of those species aren't pests but the Queensland fruit fly is very damaging, infesting more than 100 different fruits and vegetables such as pipfruit, kiwifruit, avocado, citrus, feijoa, grape, and summerfruit. 

If this fly were to establish in New Zealand, it would have serious consequences for our $5-billion horticultural industry.

Import requirements

Import health standards contain measures to prevent the introduction of exotic fruit flies into New Zealand. You can learn more about them here:

Produce that could carry Queensland fruit fly can only be imported under the terms of a bilateral quarantine arrangement between MPI and the exporting country's national plant protection organisation. These arrangements include descriptions of approved pre-export treatment systems and certification requirements.

Who to contact

If you need to contact MPI about Queensland fruit fly, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

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