Fruit fly response continues in Auckland

The Queensland fruit fly is a serious threat to many NZ horticulture crops, including kiwifruit and avocado.

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

Since 26 April, an area of Northcote has been under a Controlled Area Notice. This restricts the movement of certain fruits and vegetables out of controlled areas to help prevent the spread of any fruit flies still in the area.

Along with the continued restrictions, a network of fruit fly surveillance traps which attract male fruit flies have remained in the area over winter and are regularly checked.

Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie says it is this continued vigilance that led to the discovery of another single male fruit fly on July 15 in a trap in the current controlled area, 350 metres from where the last was found on May 31.

“We cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal. We have found 10 of these flies in the Northcote area since February, and while we still haven’t found any evidence of larvae, pupae, eggs or female flies, the continued finds indicate that Queensland fruit flies remain in the area, albeit at very low levels.”

An established population of the flies could be devastating to NZ’s multi-billion dollar horticulture industry.

The Queensland fruit fly is a native of Australia, where it is the most serious insect pest of fruit and vegetable crops.

Queensland fruit flies belong to the fly family Tephritidae, which includes more than 4500 species. Most species aren’t pests but the Queensland fruit fly is very damaging, infesting more than 100 different fruits and vegetables such as pipfruit, kiwifruit, avocado, citrus, feijoa, grape, and summerfruit.

“Once we start heading out of winter, we’ll be looking at stepping up again, with the focus on maintaining controls and continuing with baiting and more intensive trapping,” says Catherine.

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