As the end of winter closes in, Biosecurity New Zealand’s fruit fly response in the Northcote area is about to step up again, with the focus on maintaining controls and resuming baiting and more intensive trapping.
Since 26 April, an area of Northcote has been under a Controlled Area Notice, restricting 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 movement restrictions, a network of fruit fly surveillance traps which attract male fruit flies have remained in the area over winter and were regularly checked, with the last single male fruit fly detected in the current controlled area on 15 July.
“We signalled at the start of winter that we would be stepping up again about now,” says Biosecurity New Zealand spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie.
“We appreciate the on-going patience and support of Northcote residents, which is giving us the opportunity to ensure this significant pest does not establish in New Zealand.”
“We won’t be relaxing our efforts until we are absolutely confident we are rid of these flies. We have found 10 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 could remain in the area, albeit at very low levels.”
“It’s really important that we do this to protect our 4th largest export industry – horticulture, which is worth $6 billion to our economy, as well as potentially significant disruption to people with fruit trees in their gardens,” says Dr Duthie.
“People in Northcote will be given advanced notice if bait is to be placed in their property, and we will provide them with detailed information about the bait and what’s happening.”
Detailed maps of the controlled areas and a full description of the boundaries, and full information about the rules are at: www.biosecurity.govt.nz/fruitfly