Posts Tagged ‘Queensland fruit fly’



February 19th, 2015


Queensland_Fruit_Fly_-_Bactrocera_tryoni-300x298Queensland Fruit Fly – Bactrocera tryoni

Photo: Queensland Fruit Fly, via Wikimedia Creative Commons

Horticulture New Zealand has called for a bolstering of the country biosecurity measures after a single male Queensland fruit fly was found in a surveillance trap near Auckland.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is investigating the find, which was made late afternoon on Feb. 16 in the suburb of Grey Lynn and formally identified the following day.

MPI chief operations officer Andrew Coleman said only the one male insect had been trapped and this did not mean New Zealand had an outbreak of fruit fly.

“The Queensland fruit fly has been detected five times before in northern New Zealand – in Whangarei and in Auckland. In all cases MPI carried out thorough surveillance and no further flies were found,” he said.

Coleman added the MPI had responded swiftly and field teams starting work yesterday setting additional fruit fly lure traps to determine if other flies are present in the area, and if other flies are there, preventing any spread of the pest out of the area.

“It is vital to find out if this insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Auckland,” he said.

“This insect, if established here, could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables and could lead to restrictions on trade in some of our horticultural exports.”

The MPI said it had now placed legal controls on the movement of fruit and some vegetables outside of a defined circular area which extends 1.5km (1 mile) from where the fly was trapped in Grey Lynn.

Spread of pest in Australia ‘out of control’

Since the find, Horticulture New Zealand has called for the reinstalling of 100% x-rays of passenger bags at the country’s international airports until at least the end of summer.

The organization said in a release this detection was the fourth in three years and put New Zealand’s NZ$5 billion (US$3.8 billion) horticultural industry at risk.

“So far it is only one fly. And we fully support the Ministry for Primary Industries’ response to this threat,” HortNZ president Julian Raine said.

HortNZ requested the public back the Ministry’s efforts, especially in the exclusion zone areas, as it said the pest would also have big impacts on home gardeners.

It added it was laying the blame for this breach on Australia’s inability to control the pest, claiming the country’s biosecurity protection within its own state borders was ‘seriously breaking down.’

The group said that last week the residents of Adelaide were told of the second detection of Queensland fruit flies in their city in less than two months, while seven flies found in the last detection.

“South Australia is supposed to be a Queensland fruit fly free state. Obviously the spread of this pest is out-of-control in Australia and the interstate regulators are powerless to stop its progression south,” Raine said.

The Queensland fruit fly can only come from Australia and some Pacific islands, most likely via a passenger coming off a plane or on a consignment of imported fruit.

“Reinstating the 100% x-ray of passenger bags coming from across the Tasman would go a long way towards helping us improve our protection and lower this risk,” Raine added.

“It is not acceptable to go through this drama every summer. New Zealand horticulture deserves better protection.”

HortNZ added the cost to the horticultural industry would be two-fold, involving the destruction caused by the pest and the ongoing cost of attempting to control it as well as the cost of international markets closing to New Zealand’s products.


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Senior technical officer Ernie Steiner with the x-ray irradiator used to sterilise Mediterranean fruit fly.

Sterile flies released in South Australia
ABC Rural By Joanna Prendergast


Scientists in Western Australia are breeding millions of fruit flies for release in South Australia.

In Australia, there are two types of fruit fly – the Mediterranean and Queensland flies. Both spoil a wide range of fruit and vegetables by laying their eggs in maturing crops.

The sterile Mediterranean fruit flies are being used as a control measure after an outbreak at Sellicks Beach, south of Adelaide.

Bill Woods, from the WA Department of Agriculture and Food, says the sterile flies outbreed their fertile counterparts, but they’re not cheap.

“South Australia was paying $5,000 for a million. There is money in flies. We just wish we could sell them at Bunnings and then we could retire,” he said.

Mr Woods says sterile flies work by outnumbering the existing fertile male flies. The female fly mates with the sterile fly and lays eggs which won’t hatch, reducing the population.

He says that with the reduction of chemicals permitted for use in Western Australia, he expects sterile flies may make a comeback for WA fruit growers.



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Friday 4th April 2014, 01:49 London

Whangarei again the site of incursion, only months after authorities deemed another discovery an isolated incident


New Zealand’s fresh produce industry is again on high biosecurity alert, after the discovery of a second Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly) in Whangarei within three months, according to media reports.

The New Zealand Herald claimed the discovery was made in a surveillance trap located just 400m from where another Q-fly was detected in January. In that instance, heavy restrictions were place on fruit and vegetable trade in the region while a large-scale response operation, involving close to 50 quarantine officials, was undertaken.

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industry’s (MPI) does not believe the two cases are related, after the investigation into January’s incursion determined it was an isolated incident, with no breeding population of Q-fly. A new control area has been established, with the movement of fresh produce around Whangarei again restricted.

“As in January, it is vital we find out if the insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Whangarei,” MPI spokesman Andrew Coleman told SkyNews. “This insect is an unwanted and notifiable organism that could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry and home gardeners. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables.”

January’s two-week response operation cost New Zealand taxpayers almost NZ$1m (US$850,000). New Zealand Green Party biosecurity spokesman Steffan Browning said this week’s discovery questioned the validity of the January campaign and the country’s biosecurity systems in general.

“Given that the last fruit fly was found in the same region only a few months ago it seems likely there is a connection,” Browning told the New Zealand Herald. “If it is the case that this fruit fly is linked to the previous incursion, then it raises serious concerns about MPI ending their January campaign early, before ensuring there were no other fruit fly in the region.”

Kiwifruit Vine Health chief Barry O’Neil said the discovery posed a low risk to the region’s kiwifruit crop, with no orchards within the control area.



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