NZ: Fourth fruit fly found in Auckland

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NZ: Fourth fruit fly found in Auckland

New Zealand authorities have found a second Facialis fruit fly in a surveillance trap in the Auckland suburb of Ōtara, just 70 meters from the first detection earlier in the week.

This brings the total number of fruit flies found in the city over recent days to four, with two Queensland fruit flies also having been detected.

The latest detection of a male Facialis fly on Feb. 21 within the controlled Zone A gives Biosecurity NZ confidence that its trapping programme is working, according to spokesperson Dr Catherine Duthie.

"We remain of the view that it is highly unlikely that a breeding population of Facialis fruit fly would establish in New Zealand because of our climate. Facialis has never established anywhere in the world outside of Tonga," she said.

"However, our enhanced surveillance programme in the area will continue as a precautionary measure."

The first male Facialis fruit fly was found on Feb. 18, while the two single male Queensland fruit flies were found in the Auckland North Shore suburbs of Devonport (Feb. 14), and Northcote (Feb. 20). Biosecurity NZ said these latter two finds were "quite some distance apart" and that there's no evidence of a breeding population.

A total of 104 fruit fly traps have so far been deployed in Zone A and 125 in Zone B. Additional traps will continue to be deployed into the zones over the next few days.

In a statement sent to earlier this week, Stu Hutchings, chief executive at Kiwifruit Vine Health and chair of the Fruit Fly Council, said the Queensland fruit fly had been detected six times before in northern New Zealand – in Whangarei and in Auckland.

Of these detections, only one, in Auckland in 2015, turned out to be part of a wider breeding population and this was successfully eradicated.

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