Work continues at pace on the biosecurity response following the discovery last week of one male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the Auckland suburb of Devonport.
This is the fifth time a Queensland fruit fly has been detected in the upper North Island in the past decade and Biosecurity New Zealand’s staff are well practised in dealing with this situation.
A large field crew is at work in the area – with the key focus to urgently determine if any wider incursion of the Queensland fruit fly is in the present. Of the five previous Queensland fruit fly detections, only one wider incursion was found and the insect was successfully eradicated.
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.
Field teams are busy expanding the network of fruit fly traps in the area. If fruit flies are present, these traps will catch them. Traps are being placed in home gardens where fruit fly host plants (for example fruit trees) are found. These are currently installed in the priority part of the suburb which is within 200m of where the fruit fly was trapped (this is known as the A Zone). Further traps will be added to a wider area extending out to 1.5 km from where the fly was found.
In addition, staff are visiting homes in the A Zone, 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 is in place in Devonport, restricting the movement of certain fruit and vegetables from the area.
This is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of any fruit flies out of the area in the event a population is there.
Field workers are out in force talking to local residents and providing information about the controls and how they can support the response. Community members are encouraged to visit the Biosecurity New Zealand web page. Information is also being shared via social media.
If local people in Devonport believe they have seen fruit flies or have found insect eggs or larvae inside fruit or vegetables, they should contact the response team on 0800 80 99 66. Photos of the insect are on the Biosecurity New Zealand website.
The fruit fly response at a glance:
- More than 60 people are working in Auckland and this number continues to grow. Around 20 Biosecurity New Zealand staff are working from the National HQ in Wellington.
- Biosecurity New Zealand’s bio-secure mobile field laboratory is established at the Devonport Naval Base.
- Staff there are inspecting produce collected from the area for signs of fruit fly and larvae.
- Personnel is out in force providing information to local residents and people visiting Devonport.
- Signs are up on key arterial roads and at the Devonport Ferry Terminal.
- Bins are going into the Controlled Area for local people to safely dispose of fruit and vegetable waste.
More information: www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly