Queensland fruit fly

Ten male fruit flies were found in separate surveillance traps in and around the Auckland suburb of Northcote in early 2019. Biosecurity New Zealand mounted an operation to search for fruit flies and get rid of any population to protect the horticulture industry and home gardens.

After finding no sign of fruit flies for 6 months, the operation was closed and restrictions on the movement of fresh produce lifted.

Fruit fly response 2019/20 – infographic [PDF, 374 KB]


31 January 2020: Successful end to fruit fly operation in Auckland – Controlled Area Notice over Northcote is revoked and movement restrictions on fruit and vegetables lifted.

Successful end to fruit fly operation in Auckland

20 December 2019: The Controlled Area Notice over Northcote area is still in place. Home gardeners can help stop the spread of fruit flies that may be about.

Advice for home gardeners

12 August 2019: Biosecurity New Zealand’s fruit fly response in the Northcote area is about to step up again, with the focus on maintaining controls and continuing with baiting and more intensive trapping.

Media release

New trap deployment letter to property owners [PDF, 655 KB]

19 July 2019: There has been no let-up in Biosecurity New Zealand’s response to the recent fruit fly finds in the Northcote area, with restrictions remaining in place to contain the pest.

Media release – situation update 19 July 2019

2 July 2019: Change to Controlled Area Notice but restrictions remain.

7 June 2019: On the ground efforts to manage the recent fruit fly detections in the Northcote area continue, with the possibility of some controls remaining in place throughout the winter months.

Media release – situation update 7 June 2019

11 May: Step-up in response in Northcote after another male Queensland fruit fly is found. Baiting to begin.

Media release - situation update 11 May

Export Restriction Zone (ERZ)

Find out about the ERZ and what it means  


Biosecurity New Zealand mounted a biosecurity response operation after finding a male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap in Northcote in February 2019. Subsequently, a further 9 individual flies were detected in separate traps in the area up to July 2019.

A Controlled Area Notice was in place, legally restricting the movement of fresh fruit, vegetables, and garden waste out of a specified zone. This was to contain any potential population of the insect pest which, had it established here, would significantly damage New Zealand’s horticulture industry and home gardens.

After 6 months of trapping without a detection, an intensive baiting programme throughout the spring of 2019, and the inspection of hundreds of kilos of fruit without a find, Biosecurity New Zealand has confidence there is no breeding population of the Queensland fruit fly in Northcote.

The Controlled Area was lifted on 31 January 2020 and operations in the area ceased.

Queensland fruit fly in Devonport

A single male fly was also found in a surveillance trap in Devonport on 14 February 2019. Trapping found no further flies and restrictions on moving and selling fruit and vegetables in this area were lifted on 22 March 2019.

CAN revocation notice [PDF, 82 KB]

Biosecurity New Zealand’s nationwide routine surveillance programme for 3 different types of damaging exotic fruit flies (including the Queensland fruit fly) continues with over 7,600 fruit fly traps spread across the country and some 1,300 traps deployed across Auckland.

What you can do – keep vigilant

Although we are now free of Queensland fruit fly, it will take a big effort from all New Zealanders to keep it out. If travelling overseas, don’t bring fresh fruit or vegetables home. If you do, declare this on your arrival card when you return and encourage visitors to do the same.

If you think you’ve found a fruit fly or seen what look like its maggots in fruit, call our pest-and-disease hotline immediately: 0800 80 99 66

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 with yellow markings.

Larvae look like white long-grain rice.

If you have any enquiries, call 0800 80 99 66

Information for exporters about Export Restriction Zones

We have operated an Export Restriction Zone (ERZ) of 3.2km around the North Shore controlled area. This has meant 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 ERZ had to be contained in an insect-proofed environment and some additional documentation provided.

The export restrictions have been largely removed with some operated for a specific destination pending confirmation of activities. Please check with your Independent Verification Agency for details.

If you are a grower or a packhouse, check if you are in the ERZ using this interactive map:

Risk to New Zealand

Queensland fruit fly would jeopardise our multi-billion dollar horticulture industry, with 80% of New Zealand’s horticulture crops susceptible to attack.

Fruits and vegetables attacked by Queensland fruit fly are 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.


Biosecurity New Zealand’s surveillance programme watches for 100 species of fruit fly, including the Queensland fruit fly.

  • More than 7,800 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 recent Northcote response. If a breeding population is found, insecticide treatments are used to get rid of it. We did not find a breeding population in Northcote and insecticides were not needed.

Image files

Queensland fruit fly dorsal [JPG, 2.7 MB]

Queensland fruit fly lateral [JPG, 3.1 MB]

Queensland fruit fly on a leaf [JPG, 5.1 MB]

Fruit fly larvae on peach

Fruit fly larvae on mango

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