The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) remains confident that the isolated population of Queensland fruit fly will be eradicated from Auckland.
Since the first male fruit fly was trapped in Grey Lynn in mid-February, 14 adult flies have been located. The last find was over a month ago on 6 March. The last detection of larvae in fruit collected from the affected area was on 13 March.
MPI’s Director of Response, Veronica Herrera says this is good news but is not yet an indication that the flies are gone for good.
“We need some months yet to be quite sure this population has been eradicated. We believe that we will be working in the area until at least the end of November and we will need the community’s support for the long haul,” she says.
Dr Herrera says treatments of the five directly affected properties with insecticide spraying are now complete. But going forward, MPI will still need to regularly apply bait to attract and kill any flies present, plus maintain regular trap inspections to make quite sure the flies are gone.
“We are so appreciative of the support of the people in those homes who have had daily visits from our field staff over the past six weeks.
“We are also hugely grateful to the wider community in the Controlled Area who are having fruiting trees in their gardens baited and are having to comply with the restrictions on moving fruit and vegetables.
“It takes some commitment to support this operation. We are pleased that both residents and local businesses realise their support is vital to stopping the spread of the fruit fly and eventually eradicating it.”
As fruit flies go to ground over winter, MPI expects to stop the baiting treatments in the entire Controlled Area sometime around early June. However, to be quite sure they are eradicated, MPI is likely to need to resume baiting in the springtime.
The intensive network of surveillance traps will stay out over the winter but will be checked less frequently. This continued trapping is needed to verify that the fruit fly is gone.
“This will enable us to assure our international trading partners that New Zealand is once again fruit fly free,” Dr Herrera says.
“Until that time, the controls on the movement of fruit and vegetables outside of the Controlled Area will need to continue to make quite sure any surviving flies are not spread from the area.”
MPI recently made it easier to comply with the rules by allowing customers to purchase fruit and vegetables at certain MPI-approved retailers within the Controlled Area that can be taken outside of the Controlled Area. A full list of approved retailers is at: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/pests/queensland-fruit-fly/2015/auckland-fruit-fly-2015-MPI-approved-retailers-in-controlled-areas.pdf