Queensland fruit fly eradication

Ten male fruit flies were found in separate surveillance traps in and around the Auckland suburb of Northcote in early 2019. Biosecurity New Zealand mounted an operation to search for fruit flies and get rid of any population to protect the horticulture industry and home gardens.

After finding no sign of fruit flies for 6 months, the operation was closed and restrictions on the movement of fresh produce lifted.

Background to MPI's fruit fly response

Biosecurity New Zealand mounted a biosecurity response operation after finding a male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in Northcote in February 2019. Subsequently, a further 9 individual flies were detected in separate traps in the area up to July 2019.

A Controlled Area Notice was put in place, legally restricting the movement of fresh fruit, vegetables, and garden waste out of a specified zone. This was to contain any potential population of the insect pest which would have significantly damaged New Zealand’s horticulture industry and home gardens, had it established here.

After 6 months of trapping without a detection, an intensive baiting programme throughout the spring of 2019, and the inspection of hundreds of kilos of fruit without a find, Biosecurity New Zealand had confidence there was no breeding population of the Queensland fruit fly in Northcote.

The Controlled Area was lifted on 31 January 2020 and operations in the area ceased.

Fruit fly response 2019/20 – infographic [PDF, 374 KB]

Queensland fruit fly in Devonport

A single male fly was also found in a surveillance trap in Devonport on 14 February 2019. Trapping found no further flies and restrictions on moving and selling fruit and vegetables in this area were lifted on 22 March 2019.

CAN revocation notice [PDF, 82 KB]

Biosecurity New Zealand’s nationwide routine surveillance programme for 3 different types of damaging exotic fruit flies (including the Queensland fruit fly) continues with over 7,600 fruit fly traps spread across the country and some 1,300 traps deployed across Auckland.

What you can do – keep vigilant

Although we are now free of Queensland fruit fly, it will take a big effort from all New Zealanders to keep it out. If travelling overseas, 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 think you’ve found a fruit fly or seen what look like its maggots in fruit, call our pest-and-disease hotline immediately: 0800 80 99 66

Fruit fly larvae on a peach
Fruit fly larvae on a peach.
Fruit fly larvae on a mango
Fruit fly larvae on a mango.

Queensland fruit flies are about 6 to 8 mm long and are reddish-brown with yellow markings.

Larvae look like white long-grain rice.

If you have any enquiries, call 0800 80 99 66

Risk to New Zealand

Queensland fruit fly would jeopardise our multi-billion-dollar horticulture industry, with 80% of New Zealand’s horticulture crops susceptible to attack.

Fruits and vegetables attacked by Queensland fruit fly are inedible.

Any fruit and vegetables would be subject to trade restrictions.

Keeping them out

To keep Queensland fruit fly out, New Zealand:

  • imposes tough requirements on imported produce
  • checks passengers, luggage, and freight at the border
  • has had a dedicated trapping programme since the 1970s.

The traps are an early-warning system, telling us if flies have arrived, so we can eradicate them.

Surveillance

Biosecurity New Zealand’s surveillance programme watches for 100 species of fruit fly, including the Queensland fruit fly.

  • More than 7,800 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 recent Auckland response. If a breeding population is found, insecticide treatments are used to get rid of it. As we did not find a breeding population in Auckland, insecticides were not needed.

Image files

Queensland fruit fly dorsal [JPG, 2.7 MB]

Queensland fruit fly lateral [JPG, 3.1 MB]

Queensland fruit fly on a leaf [JPG, 5.1 MB]

Fruit fly larvae on peach

Fruit fly larvae on mango

Who to contact

If you have questions about Queensland fruit fly eradication, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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