A large field operation is underway in the Auckland suburb of Devonport following the discovery of one male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the area.
The task at hand is to determine if the fly is a solitary find, or if it is part of an incursion in the area.
If it established here, the Queensland fruit fly could seriously harm the country’s fruit and vegetable crops and affect exports of some produce. If a population is found, work will progress to eradicate it.
To date, no further signs of fruit flies have been found.
The immediate focus is setting further fruit fly traps in the affected area. If fruit flies are present, these traps will catch them. Ultimately there will be approximately 150 traps installed in the priority part of the suburb within 200m of where the fruit fly was trapped. Further traps will also be added in the 1.5 km radius from the find. These are in addition to the 7600 surveillance traps for fruit flies deployed nationally.
In addition, field teams are visiting local properties, checking for fruit trees, vegetable gardens and compost facilities that could provide suitable habitat for fruit flies.
Fruit and vegetable samples will be taken from home gardens to check for fruit fly contamination.
A legal Controlled Area has been declared over the suburb, restricting the movement of certain fruit and vegetables from the area.
Full details of the Controlled Area and movement controls
This is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of any fruit flies from the area if there is a population there.
People in Devonport are asked to report any suspected sightings of the Queensland fruit fly or the discovery of insect eggs or larvae inside fruit or vegetables by phoning 0800 80 99 66. Photos of the insect are on the Biosecurity New Zealand website.
The fruit fly response at a glance:
- More than 20 Biosecurity New Zealand staff working from Head Office in Wellington.
- A field crew of 35 working in Devonport and this is expanding.
- Biosecurity New Zealand's bio-secure mobile field laboratory is being set up at the Devonport Naval Base.
- Staff there will inspect produce collected from the area for signs of fruit fly and larvae.
- Leaflets continue to be distributed in the affected area.
- Signs to be put on key arterial roads and at the Devonport Ferry Terminal.
- Personnel will be on hand at the terminal to provide information to travellers moving out of the Controlled Area.
- Bins are being organised for the area so local people can safely dispose of locally-grown fruit and vegetable waste.
More information is at www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly