Queensland fruit fly

Single male fruit flies have been found in surveillance traps in 2 suburbs on Auckland's Northshore. Find out more about these types of flies and what we're doing.

What's the situation?

Queensland fruit fly on leaf.
A Queensland fruit fly.

Biosecurity New Zealand is investigating finds of single male Queensland fruit flies in surveillance traps in the Auckland suburbs Northcote and Devonport. A Controlled Area Notice is in place in both these suburbs. 

In Northcote, 6 single male flies have been found to date. We now carrying out a baiting operation to see if there are more Queensland fruit flies in the suburb. One fly was found in a fruit fly surveillance trap in Devonport on 14 February. Biosecurity New Zealand has eradicated the Queensland fruit fly before, in 2015.

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. Since the fruit fly was found, we've been working to locate any other possible fruit flies, and eradicate them if they are.

  • Around 140 Biosecurity New Zealand staff, contractors and industry partners  are working on these responses
  • 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.
  • Our people continue to be out in force providing information to local residents and people visiting Northcote and Devonport.
  • Leaflets have been delivered to all residents in the A Zones in each suburb
  • All affected properties have had their gardens surveyed for fruit trees to work out how many more traps are required.
  • Special Biosecurity New Zealand amnesty bins have been placed in to the Controlled Areas for local people to safely dispose of fruit and vegetable waste.

Another type of fruit fly also found

Note, we're also investigating the discovery of another type of fruit fly in a different Auckland suburb – Ōtara.

Find out about the facialis fruit fly found in Ōtara

Media release updates

Read our media releases for information on what's been happening:

Call us if you see a fruit fly or larvae

If you find larvae (they look like grains of rice) in fruit, or believe you have seen a fruit fly, call 0800 80 99 66.

Background

Queensland fruit flies spoil many horticultural crops, often making them inedible.

They have been detected in New Zealand several times previously.

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.

General information about the Queensland fruit fly (Answers to common questions)

Baiting to check for more fruit flies in Northcote

Biosecurity New Zealand is carrying out a programme to see if there more Queensland fruit flies in Northcote.

The Queensland fruit fly is a major threat to New Zealand horticulture, economy and home gardeners. We don’t want it to establish here.

Treatment being used

The main treatment is an insecticide bait that attracts and kills adult fruit flies. There are two components to the bait – a protein to attract adult fruit flies and a low concentration of insecticide (these are called either fipronil or spinetoram) to kill the flies.

Our staff will be visiting properties to apply bait treatment on and around trees on selected properties. Our operators are talking to residents when they can and are leaving information sheets in letterboxes.

We have taken every precaution to ensure the insecticides and baits used are safe around people and animals. Purely as a precaution, we recommend staying away from trees where bait has been used, and do not eat fruit and leaves from trees that have been treated.

Northcote and Devonport under Controlled Area Notices

To manage the fruit flies that have been found, Northcote has been put under a Controlled Area Notice (CAN). This is effective from 15 March in Northcote. This restricts the movement of certain fruits and vegetables out of the Controlled Area to help prevent the spread of any fruit flies if there are more out there.

Note the Controlled Area has changed on 15 March. Check if your property has changed zones.

The CAN is a legal notice and might affect you if you live in the area.  

The restrictions on fruit and vegetable movements in Northcote are likely to need to continue for several months.

Find out if you're in the Controlled Areas

To find out if your home or business is in the Controlled Areas and which Zone of the area, simply enter your address in our map below. Note, the Controlled Area for Northcote has changed 15 March. Check if your property has changed zones.

Zone A is marked by a red circle. Zone B is highlighted in yellow.

Note, the following section of content is possibly being delivered from an external source (IFRAME in HTML terms), and may present unusual experiences for screen readers.


Please note the following section of content is possibly being delivered from an external source (IFRAME in HTML terms), and may present unusual experiences for screen readers.

Movement restrictions on fruits and vegetables in the Controlled Areas

In short, the restrictions on moving fruit and vegetables are:

  • If you live in Zone A (refer to map):
    No whole fruit or vegetables (except leafy and root vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, bok choy, rhubarb, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, kumara, celery, onions, spring onions) can be taken out of Zone A. In addition, no fruit or vegetable waste (such as fruit skins and cores/stones, peelings and the like) or garden waste (such as prunings from fruit trees or vegetable garden cuttings) can go out of the area. The fruit and vegetables should either be disposed of in a home in-sink disposal unit or put into specially supplied Biosecurity New Zealand bins.
  • If you live in Zone B (refer to map):
    You must not move homegrown fruit and vegetables out of the Controlled Area. In other words, produce grown inside the Controlled Area cannot be moved out of it. You are free to move commercially-purchased fruit and vegetables (such as fruit and vegetables bought at the supermarket) out of the area. Homegrown produce waste and garden waste needs to be disposed of in Biosecurity New Zealand bins.

If in doubt, don't take it out.

Fruits and vegetables that are affected

All whole fruits and vegetables must meet the requirements of the Controlled Area Notice. Exceptions are:

  • leafy vegetables
  • root vegetables
  • cooked, processed, preserved, dried, frozen, and canned fruit

We've prepared a brochure with information and guidance about movement controls.

Download the brochure

昆士兰果蝇信息简体中文 - Download the factsheet in Simplified Chinese

Download the factsheet in Korean

Download the factsheet in Tagalog

Information about Export Restriction Zones

We have established an Export Restriction Zone (ERZ) of 3.2km around the Controlled Area. This means export consignments of Queensland fruit fly host material must meet additional requirements to move through the ERZ and be eligible for export.

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

We've prepared the following information and guidance about the Export Restriction Zone and transit requirements.

Download the FAQ for Exporters

Download the requirements and guidance for exporters

If you are a grower, or packhouse, check if you are in the ERZ with our interactive map below.

Information for people in the controlled areas making packed lunches

If you live in the Controlled Areas (refer to map) and you're preparing lunch for work or school, you can still include fruit and vegetables, just make sure it's cut up and you can't see any larvae in it.

If you find larvae in fruit or believe you have seen a fruit fly, call 0800 80 99 66.

Information for retailers

What fruit and vegetables are at risk for Queensland fruit fly

We've prepared a list of fruit and vegetables that are called hosts. They're plants the fruit fly feeds on. These fruits and vegetables are subject to movement controls for retailers. This is not a complete list of hosts, but intended for guidance only.


What you can do

Fruit fly larvae on a peach
Fruit fly larvae on a peach
 Fruit fly larvae on a mango
Fruit fly larvae on a mango

Queensland fruit flies are about 6 to 8 mm long and are reddish-brown coloured with yellow markings. See the "Background" section above for images.

If you find larvae in fruit or believe you have seen a fruit fly, call 0800 80 99 66.

If you live around Devonport or Northcote, find out if you're in the Controlled Areas. If so, you will need to follow legal restrictions around movement of fruit and vegetables. Remember – if in doubt, don't take it out.

If you have any enquiries, call 0800 80 99 66.

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.
  • Any fruit and vegetables would be subject to trade restrictions.

 Keeping them out

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 Queensland 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.

Surveillance

MPI's surveillance programme watches for 100 species of fruit fly, including the Queensland fruit fly.

  • More than 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.

2015 eradication

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.

Image files for media use

Media needing images of Queensland fruit flies can download these files:

Queensland fruit fly dorsal

Queensland fruit fly lateral

Queensland fruit fly on a leaf

Fruit fly larvae on peach

Fruit fly larvae on mango

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