Queensland fruit fly

Bactrocera tryoni

This distinctive Australian pest poses a serious threat to our trade with other countries. We've caught it half a dozen times in traps. We've managed to stop it establishing here each time.

About the Queensland fruit fly

In its native home, the Queensland fruit fly costs growers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in damage and pest control.

It has spread from Queensland to other parts of Australia, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, and the Pitcairn Islands.

We've found it in our surveillance traps in New Zealand 6 times.

Global distribution of Queensland fruit fly

World map showing distribution of Queensland fruit fly

Why this is a problem for New Zealand

Spoiled fruit with skin peeled back to show fly larvae.
Maggots cause fruit to rot.

The adult fly lays its eggs in fruit. When the maggots hatch they eat the fruit, causing it to rot.

The maggots eat over 200 different types of fruit and vegetables. Their favourites are guava, stonefruit, tomatoes, and mango.

Even if just 1 or 2 flies arrived in New Zealand, it could cause problems with our trading partners.

Map of New Zealand showing where this fruit fly could establish

How it could get here

Queensland 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 careful too. Whenever travelling to New Zealand, always declare any food or fruit in your luggage. If you don't, you could face a $400 fine.

We're most at risk from this pest during the Australian growing season (New Zealand's summer months).

How to identify the fly

Queensland fruit fly on leaf.
The fly has distinct yellow markings.

Adult flies:

  • are 6mm to 8 mm long (a little larger than a house fly)
  • are reddish-brown with distinct yellow markings
  • have clear wings.

The female fly has a pointed 'sting' (its ovipositor) at the end of her body.

Pictures of some Queensland fruit fly lookalikes in NZ [PDF, 2.1 MB]

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.

Last reviewed: