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

MPI is running a programme to eradicate a small population of the Queensland fruit fly from the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn.  The activities are ongoing and some work is expected to continue until late in the year. The Ministry thanks the people of Auckland, particularly residents and businesses in the Controlled Area, for their ongoing support. There will be full communication about when the activities are over.

Auckland 2015

A small population of the Queensland fruit fly was found in Grey Lynn February this year and since then, MPI has been taking action to eradicate it.

A Controlled Area was put in place with restrictions on the movement of fresh fruit and vegetables outside of this area. These movement restrictions remain in force.

Go to the interactive map and enter your address to see if you live within the Controlled Area and if so, which Zone.

Full information about the restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables is in this brochure:


Initially it was advised (including in the above brochure) that composting within the Controlled Area should be avoided. Now that the limits of the fruit fly population area are known and the risk presented by composting is seen as low, MPI confirms that this option is once again available to gardeners whose properties are inside the Controlled Area. It is important, however, to stick to the following rules:

  • Material to be composted must be waste (i.e. cut up fruit and vegetable scraps) and not whole fruit and vegetables. Whole fruit and vegetables must still go in the MPI bins or be chopped/pulverised to go into compost. This way gardeners can see if there is evidence of fruit fly infestation in the produce.  
  • The waste material must not include soil and litter from under fruit trees on the owner’s property or another property in the Controlled Area. That must go into MPI bins.
  • Compost must not be moved off the property. A permit is required from MPI to move compost out of the Controlled Area. 
  • The waste material must not be exposed. It must be incorporated thoroughly into the compost heap or stored in an enclosed compost bin.  

Buying fruit and vegetables in the Controlled Area

Fruit and vegetables are able to be moved outside of the Controlled Area if they have been bought from an MPI-approved retailer. These approved retailers will seal fresh produce in a plastic bag for safe transportation and shoppers may not remove the fruit from the plastic bag until it is outside the Controlled Area.  A list of approved retailers is here:

Treatment and traps

As part of MPI’s eradication programme, a small number of properties with infestations of the fruit fly were treated with insecticide sprays and ground treatments. All fruiting trees within the Controlled Area had bait applied to attract and kill adult fruit flies.

In addition to the treatments, MPI extended its existing network of surveillance traps to locate any flies that could remain in the area. Those traps were in place over winter as a precaution. Generally fruit flies are not active in cooler weather, but now that the weather is warming up, MPI is checking the traps more frequently just in case any flies have survived the treatment programme.

The Ministry is confident of success in this eradication as the treatment and control measures were deployed quickly and no flies have been found in the area since March.

It is hoped that MPI will be able to declare eradication and lift the restrictions on moving produce before Christmas.

Media releases and situation updates

Movement Controls – information about moving fruit and vegetables through the Controlled Area (A and B Zones)

This information is particularly relevant for transporters, food businesses and fruit and vegetable exporters.

Deliveries of fruit fly host material (fruit, vegetables or plants that the Queensland fruit fly feeds on) can be made into the Controlled Area, but your vehicle must be completely empty of any Queensland fruit fly host material before you leave the Controlled Area.

People intending to move fruit fly host material through the A and B Zones of the Controlled Area must have a permit from MPI to do so, unless you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You are transporting the material on State Highway 16 (the North Western Motorway) or the western rail link, and
  • The transit begins and ends outside of the Controlled Area, and
  • The host material is contained in an enclosed vehicle during transit, and
  • No stops are made in the Controlled Area (both A and B Zones).

If a permit is required, please call 0800 80 99 66 (the MPI Exotic Pests and Diseases Hotline). You will be prompted to dial 1 for the Queensland fruit fly response.

These controls are designed to prevent spread of the pest out of the area.

Export Requirements

MPI has implemented transit and pest-proofing requirements for fresh fruit and vegetables moving through an Export Restriction Zone*.

All Queensland fruit fly host material that is destined for export and is travelling through an Export Restriction Zone must be contained in an insect-proofed environment.

If also transiting the Controlled Area see  the requirements above.

Growers should contact their IVA or exporter to ensure they meet these requirements.

For further information exporting requirements, a map of an Export Restriction Zone and some useful talking points for exporters please see documents below.

* MPI have defined a compulsory Export Restriction Zone which is 3.5 km radius from each detection site. All host material transiting the MPI defined ERZ must meet the pest proofing requirements to be eligible for export certification. An importing country may impose an extended ERZ in which case the exporter must comply with the additional requirements.


If you believe you have suffered loss as a result of damage to your property or controls over the movement of your goods, caused by the exercise of powers under the Biosecurity Act 1993, please refer to the compensation guidance material on the MPI website. 

About Queensland fruit fly

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.

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 summerfruit.

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 unwanted pests and to provide area freedom assurance for our export fruit and vegetables. 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 suitable for the establishment of fruit fly.

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Import Requirements

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: 24 September 2015