Oriental fruit fly

Bactrocera dorsalis

With a taste for over 300 fruit and vegetables, the oriental fruit fly is a voracious insect. If it gets to New Zealand, we could face problems with exporting our produce to some markets.

About the oriental fruit fly

We've caught this invasive fruit fly before at the border. But it's never been found elsewhere within New Zealand. We have surveillance traps in place to detect this fly in case it does make it past the border.

It is native to Asia, but has now spread to many warmer countries. It is one of the most destructive and widespread of all fruit flies.

Adult flies lay eggs into fruit. The young stages (maggots) feed inside the fruit, causing it to rot and become unmarketable.

Global distribution of oriental fruit fly

Wolrd distribution of Oriental fruit fly

Why this is a problem for New Zealand

The oriental fruit fly maggots can feed on over 300 different fruit and vegetables. The fly's favourite hosts are apple, guava, mango, peach, and pear.

An infestation of oriental fruit fly would cause control costs, production losses, and some countries might stop accepting our exported produce.

Map of New Zealand showing where oriental fruit fly could establish

How it could get here

Oriental fruit fly could only get to New Zealand in fruit infested with eggs or maggots. MPI has strict measures in place to limit the chances of the fly making it through the border.

But we need you to be vigilant too. Whenever travelling to New Zealand, always declare any food or fruit in your luggage. If you fail to do so, you could face a $400 fine.

How to identify the fly

Adult flies:

  • are a little larger than a housefly (6mm to 8mm long)
  • have a dark "T" shaped marking on the abdomen (the part behind the waist)
  • usually have a bright yellow and orange abdomen (but can vary)
  • have clear wings.

The female fly has a pointed “sting” to lay eggs inside fruit (but she can't sting or bite people). The Queensland fruit fly is a similar size but is reddish-brown.


adult fruit fly with bright yellow markings fly with ovipositor laying eggs in fruit
Left: Oriental fruit fly with bright yellow markings. Image: Flickr .
Right: Female oriental fruit fly laying eggs in fruit. Image: Scott Bauer, USDA.

If you think you've found the fruit fly

Note: This information is a summary of this pest's global distribution and potential impacts to New Zealand.


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