Queensland fruit fly

Male fruit flies have been found in surveillance traps in the Auckland suburb of Northcote. Find out more about these types of flies and what we're doing.

Update – 11 May 2019

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

Media release - situation update 11 May

Legal controls on the movement of fruit and vegetables re-introduced in Northcote 

Media release – situation update

The Export Restriction Zone (ERZ) remains in place

Find out about the ERZ and what it means 

Background

Biosecurity New Zealand has been investigating finds of single male Queensland fruit flies between February and May 2019 in surveillance traps in the Auckland suburb of Northcote. A Controlled Area Notice is in place.

Legal controls on the movement of fruit and vegetables had been lifted for Northcote on 22 March. However, they were re-introduced to an area of Northcote on 26 April. This followed the discovery of a further single male fly in the area. Another fly was found within the current Northcote controlled area on May 10, bringing the total to eight over the past three and half months. 

Baiting for more fruit fly

Biosecurity New Zealand is stepping up it’s on the ground efforts in the suburb, and will be placing bait on fruit trees to attract and kill adult flies, in particular females.

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.

The baits are toxic to fruit flies. We have taken every precaution to make sure the baits 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.

If any properties are found to have infestations, (e.g. eggs, larvae, pupa, adults) we will use targeted spraying and ground application of an insecticide. In 2015, only a small number of Auckland properties had infestations. People in properties with infestations will receive full information on the treatment being used.

Treatment will continue for a period of time that provides confidence that no further flies are present.

Controlled Area Notice

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 if there are more out there.

Note, the Controlled Area has changed from the Controlled Area that was put in place on 26 April.

Find out if you're in the Controlled Area

To find out if your home or business is in the Controlled Area and which zone of the area, enter your address in our map below. Check if your property has changed zones.

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


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Movement restrictions on fruits and vegetables in the Controlled Area

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 have brochures in English and other languages with information and guidance about movement controls. 

Information for people in the controlled areas making packed lunches

If you live in the Controlled Area (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.

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 [PDF 213 KB]

Download the requirements and guidance for exporters [PDF 713 KB]

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


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 in Northcote, find out if you're in the Controlled Area. 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.

Surveillance

Biosecurity New Zealand'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.

In 2015, an invasion of Queensland fruit fly in Grey Lynn, Auckland, was declared eradicated after a 10-month, community-wide campaign.

Image files for media use

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

Queensland fruit fly dorsal [JPG 2766 KB]

Queensland fruit fly lateral  [JPG 3219 KB]

Queensland fruit fly on a leaf  [JPG 5227 KB]

Fruit fly larvae on peach  [JPG 142 KB]

Fruit fly larvae on mango [JPG 140 KB]

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