Queensland fruit fly found hiding in mandarin at Wellington Airport

Queensland Fruit Fly -  Bactrocera tryoni

Four Queensland fruit fly larvae were intercepted at Wellington Airport in an undeclared mandarin.

The mandarin was carried by a passenger arriving from Melbourne earlier this month. They were fined $400 for failing to declare the fruit.

Last year, an outbreak of the Queensland fruit fly cost the Government more $15 million to eradicate, after 14 were found in the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn.  

"One of our quarantine officers detected the fruit when the passenger's bag went through an MPI biosecurity x-ray machine," says Andrew Spelman, a Ministry for Primary Industries Border Clearance Manager.

"Another officer discovered insect damage on the mandarin and pulled the skin off, finding the larvae nestled inside."

So far in 2016 there have been 11 fruit fly interceptions at the border; the fly is regarded as one of the worst horticultural pests in the world.

"Keeping fruit fly out of New Zealand is one of our highest priorities. The Wellington interception shows the value of MPI's biosecurity x-ray technology", Mr Spelman says.