Queensland fruit fly

Bactrocera tryoni

Queensland fruit fly

Queensland fruit fly

Legal Status: Notifiable Organism
Status in New Zealand: Not in New Zealand
Organism: Insects, worms and other land invertebrates


The Queensland fruit fly, or Q'fly, is a native of Australia where it is considered to be the country's most serious insect pest of fruit and vegetable crops. The species is found in the eastern areas of Queensland and New South Wales and the extreme east of Victoria. Queensland fruit fly has also dispersed into Pacific countries such as New Caledonia via human activity.

New Zealand is free of fruit fly.

Fruit flies belong to the family Tephritidae, which includes over 4,500 species, most of which are not pests. Queensland fruit fly is one of the most damaging fruit fly pests as it infests more than 100 species of fruit and vegetables. Hosts include commercial crops such as avocado, citrus, feijoa, grape, peppers, persimmon, pipfruit, and stonefruit.

If this fly were to establish here, it would have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry.

MPI operates a lure based surveillance trapping system, to both provide early detection of incursions and to provide area freedom assurance for our export horticulture. Some 7,500 traps are located throughout the North and South Islands and are concentrated in populated areas serving as centres for tourism and/or trade, areas of significant horticultural activity and areas specified as being climatically conducive to the establishment of fruit fly.

Whangarei 2014

In April 2014 a single male fruit fly was detected in an MPI surveillance trap in the Parihaka area of Whangarei.

The insect was trapped approximately 400m from where another Queensland fruit fly was trapped in January 2014.

MPI’s best information suggests the two finds were separate incidents and not related. In both cases the solitary flies were the only detections and no breeding populations were found in the area.

Queensland fruit fly has now been found five times in New Zealand previously and in all cases the fruit fly did not establish here. The discovery of a single male insect does not mean a breeding population is present and does not constitute an outbreak.

Within hours of identification of the Whangarei find, personnel were in the field setting up an extensive network of traps to ascertain if a breeding population of the fruit flies was in the area. Laboratory staff analysed hundreds of kilos of fruit checking for the presence of fruit fly larvae.

In addition, residents within a circular Controlled Area extending out 1.5km from the location of the find were asked not to move any whole fruit or certain vegetables out of the area. This was in case further flies were present, and designed to prevent spread of the pest out of the area.

MPI’s fruit fly response field work is carried out to a guiding document known as a Response Standard which reflects international best practice and is approved by international experts. This specifies that the response traps and movement controls on produce must be in place for a full 14 days with no fruit fly detections.

In that time no further flies were found and MPI announced that the Controlled Area was lifted and the response was closing out on 20 April 2014.


Full information about the movement controls:

Media releases and situation updates

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Import Requirements

Fruit fly is most likely to arrive with plane passengers bringing infested fruit in luggage.

Import health standards contain measures to prevent the introduction of exotic fruit flies into New Zealand. Further information on the mitigation measures for fruit fly on the fresh produce pathway can be found in the following import health standard:

All host material of Queensland fruit fly can only be imported under the terms of a bilateral quarantine arrangement between MPI and the exporting country's national plant protection organisation. These arrangements include descriptions of approved pre-export treatment systems and certification requirements.

Page last updated 20 April 2014

Page last updated: 29 August 2014