Further fruit fly found in Auckland

Media contact: MPI Mediaphone
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms that an isolated population of the Queensland fruit fly has been found in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn.

A resident of the higher-risk Zone A in the middle of the existing Controlled Area found a single fly in a lemon tree on his property, captured it and reported it to MPI.

The fly was formally identified as a recently-emerged un-mated female adult fruit fly. This is the only fly that has been found, over and above the initial trapped fly found earlier this week.

Chief Operations Officer Andrew Coleman says thanks must go to the resident who captured and reported the fly, allowing MPI to act swiftly to scope the problem.

“Our investigators immediately visited the property concerned where they found lemons and plums containing Queensland fruit fly larvae,” Mr Coleman says. “In total, at close of operations last night, MPI confirmed that one fly, 39 larvae and one pupa had been found at the property.”

The Ministry and its response partners, including GIA signatories KVH and PipfruitNZ, are now deploying significant resources to respond to this localiseddetection.

“We have every confidence that treatment will quickly and effectively eradicate this population. We have successfully eradicated previous incursions of fruit fly – notably the Mediterranean fruit fly in Auckland in 1996.”

Mr Coleman says initial treatment will involve placing bait in fruiting trees to attract and kill female fruit flies. The bait will be applied high up in trees and plants, away from children or pets.

“A second line of treatment will involve some targeted ground-based spraying of areas under fruiting trees where positive finds have been made. This involves using an insecticide that is safe for use in residential areas and has been proven to do no harm to people or animals such as family pets or livestock.

 “No use of aerial spraying will be required,” Mr Coleman says.

MPI advises members of the public that the existing controls on fruit and vegetable movements remain largely the same with the previously defined wider Controlled Area remaining the same. The only change is to the scale of the higher-risk Zone A which has been slightly extended. This will be communicated to the Auckland public as soon as possible.

The instructions for residents inside the Controlled Area also remain the same – whole fresh fruit and vegetables (except for leafy vegetables and root vegetables) cannot be moved outside of the defined area. This is to ensure that fruit flies are not spread outside of the area.

Detailed maps of the controlled area and a full description of the boundaries, and full information about the rules are at http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/queensland-fruit-fly .

An additional export restriction zone now extends for 3.5km from the location of the last detection. Produce susceptible to fruit fly grown within this zone cannot be exported.

New Zealand markets for horticultural produce have been notified of the situation.

Andrew Coleman says since Tuesday MPI has introduced more stringent risk assessment of all pathways (cargo, craft, mail and passengers) and heightened awareness by front line quarantine inspectors.

This includes more international air passengers’ luggage now going through x-ray and implementing 100% passenger and luggage screening by an MPI Detector Dog at international airports. This could mean some minor inconvenience for inbound passengers, but is necessary given the risk to New Zealand.

If it became established here, the Queensland fruit fly could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry.  It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables and could lead to restrictions on trade in some of our horticultural exports. It can also have impacts on home gardens.

Contact: MPI Mediaphone 029 894 0328

Auckland Media – MPI’s spokesperson will be available for interview from 12.00 midday at the Field Headquarters – 18 Frost Road, Mt Roskill (just off Mt Albert Road). On arrival, ask for Jim Flack.

Further background about the Controlled Area Notice

All whole fresh fruit and vegetables (except for leafy vegetables and root vegetables) cannot be moved outside of the wider Controlled Area.

Within the wider Controlled Area there is a smaller central Zone A (which takes in a circle 200 metres out from the initial find), and whole fruit and vegetables cannot be moved outside of this Zone at all. 

Residents within Zone A are asked to dispose of all store-bought fruit and vegetable waste in the special disposal bins that have been provided by MPI.

Zone A residents are asked to leave any home-grown fallen fruit on the ground in their garden for inspection by MPI.  Do not put home-grown produce in your MPI disposal bin.

Zone B residents can continue to dispose of all fruit and vegetables in the MPI disposal bins which are distributed at convenient locations around the area. 

Fruit and vegetables can continue to be purchased and transported from outside the Controlled Area into the Controlled Area.

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