Queensland fruit fly
MPI needs your help to keep watch for Queensland fruit fly, which could expose our horticultural exports to trade restrictions.
Queensland fruit flies spoil many horticultural crops, often making them inedible.
They have been detected in New Zealand several times and a population was eradicated from Auckland in December 2015.
The pest is difficult to catch at the border because it can arrive as eggs or tiny larvae concealed inside fruit.
To keep Queensland fruit fly out, New Zealand:
- imposes tough requirements on imported produce
- checks passengers, luggage and freight at the border
- has had a dedicated trapping programme since the 1970s.
The traps are an early-warning system, telling us if flies have arrived so we can eradicate them.
Trapping and eradication
- Surveillance traps have detected fruit fly on 4 occasions since 2012.
- One detection was linked to a fruit fly population.
- The most recent detection was in February 2015, in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn.
- That small population was declared eradicated on 4 December 2015.
We remain on high alert.
Risk to New Zealand
Queensland fruit fly would jeopardise a horticulture industry worth $5 billion a year in domestic sales and exports.
- 80% of New Zealand's horticulture crops are susceptible to attack by Queensland fruit fly.
- Fruits and vegetables they attack become inedible.
- Even unspoiled fruit and vegetables would be subject to trade restrictions.
Where in New Zealand?
Our 2015 eradication programme was focused on Grey Lynn, Auckland. However, the pest is a nationwide threat and all New Zealanders should keep watch.
What's being done?
Although the Grey Lynn population has been eradicated and New Zealand is free of fruit fly, our surveillance programme keeps a constant lookout. The earlier we find an unwanted fly, the greater the chance of successful eradication.
MPI's surveillance programme watches for 100 species of fruit fly, including the Queensland fruit fly.
- 7,600 traps are set around the country.
- Pheromones are used to lure flies into the traps.
- Most traps are placed near airports, seaports, and densely populated areas – where flies would most likely enter the country.
Trapping runs from September till June, when fruit flies are active. Any catches trigger a response similar to the one in Grey Lynn. If a breeding population is found, insecticide treatments are used to get rid of it.
A 2015 invasion of Queensland fruit fly in Grey Lynn, Auckland, was declared eradicated after a 10-month, community-wide campaign. The effort included:
- restrictions on movement of fruit and vegetables out of the Grey Lynn area
- insecticide treatments of properties where the pest was seen
- baiting of all fruiting trees in the area
- inspection of all fruit grown on local trees and removal of windfall fruit.
MPI and the horticulture industry thank the businesses and residents of Grey Lynn for their cooperation and help.
What you can do
Despite all New Zealand's import and border controls, Queensland fruit fly has been found here 4 times since 2012. That shows how important it is for New Zealanders to keep watch.
If you find larvae in fruit or believe you have seen a fruit fly, call 0800 80 99 66.