Good progress in fruit fly operation
Field work continues in Whangarei to check whether this week’s detection of a single fruit fly is a solitary insect or whether there is a wider population in the area.
This insect is an unwanted and notifiable organism that could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables.
Some 80 personnel (from MPI and operations service provider AsureQuality) are today putting out further surveillance traps and inspecting gardens and rubbish bins for any signs of fruit flies.
As of 8am today (Saturday 25 Jan) there are 83 traps in the area closest to the original find (known as Zone A) and traps are being deployed in the Zone B area which goes out to 1.5km from the detection.
MPI Deputy Director-General Compliance and Response, Andrew Coleman, says the Whangarei community has been hugely supportive, accepting that this situation requires restrictions on the movement of fresh fruit and some vegetables out of the Controlled Area that has been established.
“We are very appreciative of this support,” Mr Coleman says. “It is vital that material that could contain the fly is not taken out of the zone, just in case there is a breeding population present in the area, which takes in Parihaka, Riverside and parts of central Whangarei.”
Restricted produce includes all fruit and some vegetables. Leafy and root vegetables are not hosts for fruit fly and their movement is not restricted.
The key fruits and veges that should NOT be taken out of the Controlled Area are: citrus fruit, stone and pip fruit, tomatoes, capsicums and avocados.
Full information on the restrictions is at: www.mpi.govt.nz – and follow the fruit fly button.
The Ministry has a new online tool in place to assist local people work out if their property is inside or outside the Controlled Area.
This online tool, which enables people to enter their address and check, is at: http://www.esam.co.nz/Fruitfly/
A field laboratory is up and running this afternoon, ready to examine samples of fruit from the area. The lab will also work to indentify any suspect insects found in the increased traps in the zone.
First results from this trapping will be available tomorrow (Sunday 26 January).
Garden rubbish- green waste- (particularly clippings from fruit trees, fallen fruit, tobacco weed and woolly nightshade) may contain fruit flies, should a population be present. Residents are asked to dispose of this material in MPI wheelie bins rather than taking it to the Whangarei Weigh Transfer Station.
“Once again, MPI would like to thank the people of Whangarei for their co-operation in this response. Compliance with these restrictions is a critical precaution to protect our horticultural industries and home gardens,” Mr Coleman says.
“It is likely the restrictions will be in place for at least a couple of weeks.”
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