Facialis fruit fly response in Ōtara – situation update 1

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

A large field operation is underway in the Auckland suburb of Ōtara following the discovery of a single male facialis fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the area. This is not related to the current Devonport situation.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) director general Ray Smith says our main focus right now is to determine if the fly is a solitary find, or if it is part of a breeding population in the area.

The Biosecurity New Zealand response field teams are busy today setting further traps in the affected area. If any fruit flies are around, these traps will find them.

In addition, field teams are visiting local properties in Zone A, checking for fruit trees, vegetable gardens and compost facilities that could provide suitable habitat for fruit flies.

They are also talking to local businesses, churches, and residents and providing information about the controls and how they can support the response.

"We have a good understanding of the breadth of ethnicities in the Ōtara community and are working to develop multi-language leaflets to ensure the community knows what they need do to," says Ray Smith.

Fruit and vegetable samples are being taken from home gardens to check for fruit fly infestation.

A legal Controlled Area has been placed on the suburb restricting the movement of certain fruit and vegetables from the area.

Full details of the Controlled Area and the requirements 

Plans are in place to have Biosecurity New Zealand response field teams on the ground at the Ōtara Flea Market (which is outside of the controlled area) on Saturday handing out leaflets.

If local people in Ōtara think they have seen signs of this fruit fly or found insect eggs or larvae inside fruit or vegetables, call the response team on 0800 80 99 66.

The fruit fly response at a glance

  • More than 77 Biosecurity New Zealand staff working from Head Office across all responses.
  • A field crew is working in Ōtara and the number of people in the crew is expanding by the hour.
  • Leaflets continue to be distributed in the affected area.
  • Biosecurity New Zealand is having leaflets translated into a number of languages including Samoan, Tongan, Chinese, Cook Island Maori, Fijian, and Hindi.
  • Signs have been put on key arterial roads out of Ōtara.
  • Bins are being organised for the area so local people can safely dispose of fruit and vegetable waste.
  • The website address for more information is www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly
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