The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has placed controls on the movement of whole fresh fruit and vegetables within a specified 1.5 kilometre radius around Wolverton Road in Avondale, following a find of a single male Queensland fruit fly in the area.
“These controls are an important precaution while we investigate whether there are any further fruit flies in the area,” says MPI deputy general director Andrew Coleman.
“The Queensland fruit fly is an unwanted and notifiable insect, which could have serious consequences for our horticultural industries.”
Andrews says they are urgently searching for any further signs of the fruit fly in the Avondale area and is asking people for their support.
Whole fresh fruit and vegetables cannot be moved from inside this area outside of it.
Within a smaller area, called Zone A, which takes in a circle 200 metres out from the initial find, whole fruit and vegetables cannot be moved off properties at all.
However, fruit and vegetables can continue to be transported from outside of the restricted areas into them.
Key fruits, vegetables and plants of concern are:
All citrus fruits, all stonefruit, pears, apples, blackberry, boysenberry, grapes, feijoa, passionfruit, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, pumpkin, avocado, custard apple, quince, persimmon, loquat, olives, oleander, kumquat, crab-apple, cape gooseberry and guava.
Andrew is asking residents to avoid composting any of these risk fruits and vegetables.
People are also being asked to dispose of fruit and vegetable waste via a sink waste disposal unit if possible.
MPI is providing special bins in the Controlled Area for the disposal of fruit and vegetable waste.
The locations of these bins will be advised shortly.
“We appreciate this will be inconvenient for the many hundreds of families living in and around Avondale but their compliance with these restrictions is a critical precaution to protect our horticultural industries and home gardens.
“It is likely the restrictions will be in place for at least a couple of weeks.
“At this stage a single male fly has been found in a surveillance trap, and this does not mean there is a population of the fly in New Zealand, but we need to limit the transport of any material that could carry the fly or its larvae while we investigate the situation.”
MPI and its partners have deployed investigators in the affected area, who will be laying traps and checking fruit trees, vegetable gardens and rubbish bins for any signs of fruit flies.
“It is vital we ascertain if the insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Auckland.
“MPI’s staff will be doing all they can as fast as they can to establish what we are dealing with but the community is essential to the effectiveness of our biosecurity response.”
If further fruit flies are found, the Ministry says there will not be aerial spraying of insecticides as there are other more effective treatment methods available.
For more information visit http://www.mpi.govt.nz
To report suspicious finds call MPI on 0800 80 99 66.