Fruit fly in Auckland – situation update 12 April 2019

Date:
Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

Last controls on the movement of fruit and vegetables lifted

Controls on the movement of fruit and vegetables in the Auckland north shore suburb of Northcote have been lifted, with no further Queensland fruit flies being detected.

The decision follows weeks of intensive trapping and inspections of hundreds of kilograms of fruit.

The last Queensland fruit fly detection in Northcote was on 14 March which led to an increase in the on-the-ground operational response.

Biosecurity New Zealand teams on the ground removed fallen fruit from backyards, inspected compost bins, and placed bait on fruit trees to attract and kill adult flies, in particular females.

"With no further finds, we are confident that there are no breeding populations of Queensland fruit fly in the Northcote area, and because of that, the Controlled Area Notices can be lifted today, "says head of Biosecurity New Zealand Roger Smith.

"All operational activities, including baiting, have been completed, however, as a precautionary measure, we will be keeping in place an enhanced network of fruit fly traps for an extended period. If fruit flies are present, these traps will detect them."

The Biosecurity New Zealand signage and wheelie bins will be removed from Northcote over the next few days.

The lifting of legal controls follows similar moves on 22 March in Devonport (Queensland fruit fly) and in Ōtara (facialis fruit fly), after no further fruit flies were found in those areas.

Biosecurity New Zealand and the country's horticultural industries would like to sincerely thank the residents and businesses in all of the affected suburbs.

"Residents in the affected areas of Northcote, Devonport, and Ōtara have been incredibly supportive and patient with not only the movement restrictions but also the regular checking of traps on fruiting plants in their gardens and we're extremely grateful for the support," says Mr Smith.

Background

Queensland fruit flies

Single male Queensland fruit flies were found in separate surveillance traps in the Auckland North Shore suburbs of Devonport (1 single male fly) and Northcote (6 single male flies over a 3 week period). Extensive trapping and fruit monitoring have not found any evidence of a breeding population. 

The Queensland fruit fly has been detected before in the upper North Island in the past decade. Biosecurity New Zealand's staff are well practised in dealing with this situation.

Facialis fruit flies

Three single male facialis fruit flies were found in separate surveillance traps in Ōtara.

Controlled Area Notices

To manage the fruit flies that have been found, Controlled Area Notices (CANs) were issued for all 3 suburbs. This restricts the movement of certain fruit and vegetables out of the Controlled Area to help prevent the spread of any fruit flies if any are present. The restrictions are now lifted for all suburbs, although an enhanced trapping network will continue in Ōtara, Northcote and Devonport for an extended period as a precautionary measure.

Timeline: Fruit flies found in Auckland, 2019

February 14 - Single male Queensland fruit fly located in Devonport, on the North Shore.
February 18 - A different species of fruit fly, a male facialis, discovered in Ōtara, south Auckland.
February 20 - Another single male Queensland fruit fly found on the North Shore, this time in Northcote.
February 21 - A second single male facialis detected in Ōtara, only 70 metres from the first find.
February 23 - Another single Queensland fruit fly found in Northcote.
February 28 - A third single male Queensland fruit fly detected in Northcote, 270 metres from where the last was found.
March 4 - A fourth male Queensland fruit fly detected in Northcote, approximately 80 metres from where the last was found.
March 5 - A third single male facialis detected in Ōtara, 630 metres to the North of the last find.
March 10 - A fifth single male Queensland fruit fly is found in Northcote, 60 metres from where the last was found.
March 14 - A sixth single male Queensland fruit fly is found in Northcote 650 metres south of the original find. The operational response was stepped up to include baiting.
March 22 – The Controlled Area Notices for Devonport and Ōtara are lifted after no further fruit flies were detected. Enhanced trapping continues as a precautionary measure.
April 12 – The Controlled Area Notice in Northcote is lifted after no further fruit flies were detected. Enhanced trapping continues as a precautionary measure.

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