The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) asks rugby fans heading to tomorrow night’s Bledisloe Cup match at Eden Park to remain vigilant about the Queensland fruit fly.
MPI has been working since February to eradicate a small population of the damaging insect pest from an area in Grey Lynn, Auckland and the programme is ongoing.
As part of the programme, a Controlled Area was established extending 1.5km from the location of the flies detected. People are asked not to take fresh fruit or vegetables outside of this area to reduce the risk of any flies, eggs or larvae present being spread from the zone inside produce.
Fruit fly response Liaison Manager Andrew Sander says Eden Park is inside the Controlled Area and for this reason fruit and vegetable material should not be taken away from the park by those attending the game.
“Our advice to those heading along is to avoid taking any fresh produce to eat at the game. If you do need to take these foods as a snack, please make sure you eat them there and dispose of any rubbish or uneaten produce in the specially marked MPI disposal bins.
“We will have disposal bins clearly marked at handy locations around the venue and all fresh fruit and vegetable waste left there will be safely disposed of.”
Mr Sander says the eradication programme is currently in its winter phase which means there is no ground treatment or baiting taking place. But he stresses that the movement restrictions on fruit and vegetable movements remain in place.
“We remain confident that our eradication will be successful, but over winter fruit flies are dormant, so we can’t be quite sure that the pest is eradicated until spring when any flies that could still be there would re-emerge.
“For this reason it’s important that people stick to the rules and don’t move any fresh fruit or vegetables outside of the Controlled Area, unless they have been bought from MPI-approved stores and remain sealed in the store packaging.”
Wheelie bins to dispose of fruit and vege waste from homes within the Controlled Area are still in handy locations. MPI’s network of surveillance traps remain out in force and would pick up any flies present.
“We hope to be able to declare the response over towards the end of the year. But we still need to be checking our traps for some months yet to be sure of success. “MPI and New Zealand’s horticulture industries sincerely thank Auckland residents for their support in the operation.”