Biosecurity operation stepped up as further fruit flies discovered in Auckland

A biosecurity operation on Auckland's North Shore has been extended after the discovery of two further male Queensland fruit flies.

A trapping programme has been in place since a single male fruit fly was found in Devonport on February 14.

The two new finds in Northcote bring the number found in the area to six, while no new fruit flies have been found in Devonport.

The pest could have serious consequences for New Zealand's horticultural industry, with the potential to damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables if it becomes established.

Head of Biosecurity New Zealand Roger Smith said the latest finds will mean an expansion of Zone A in Northcote and associated restrictions on the movement of fruit, vegetables and green waste. Zone A now extends south to the bottom of the Northcote Point.

"These recent finds mean we are zeroing in on the Northcote flies and we can increase our operational response," he said.

"Our teams on the ground will be removing fallen fruit from backyards, inspecting compost bins and placing bait on fruit trees to attract and kill adult flies, in particular female."

He said residents will be given at least 24 hours' notice that bait will be placed on their property and provided with detailed information about the programme.

"There have been no further finds of Queensland fruit fly in Devonport since the only find there on February 14. However, because of the proximity to Northcote, we will continue with movement controls and trapping there for the time being."

He said community support was very important for the operation.

"We know it's a huge inconvenience but it's vital for our horticultural industry - and the $6 billion that in contributes to our economy - that we do this, as well as for our ability to grow fruit at home. We don't want this pest to establish here."

No further facialis fruit flies have been found in Ōtara, and Biosecurity New Zealand will review movement controls there at the end of next week.

Background and current situation 


Single male Queensland fruit flies have been found in separate surveillance traps in the Auckland North Shore suburbs of Devonport (one single fly) and Northcote (six single flies over an extended period of time).  

Queensland fruit flies 

The Queensland fruit fly has been detected before in the upper North Island in the past decade. Biosecurity New Zealand staff are well-practised in dealing with this situation.

Facialis fruit flies 

Three single male Facialis fruit flies have been found in separate surveillance traps in Ōtara.