The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has placed controls on the movement of whole fresh fruit and some vegetables out of a specific area of Whangarei following a find of a single male Queensland fruit fly in a surveillance trap.
“These legal controls are an important precaution while we investigate whether there are any further fruit flies present,” says Andrew Coleman, MPI Deputy Director General, Compliance and Response. “Should there be any as yet undetected flies out there, this will help prevent their spread out of the area.
“The Queensland fruit fly is an unwanted and notifiable insect that could have serious consequences for our horticultural industries. While we search for any further signs of the fruit fly in Whangarei, we need the support of local people.”
The Controlled Area Notice is in force for a 1.5km circular area around the location of the find, taking in parts of Parihaka, Riverside and central Whangarei.
Note that this description is approximate and detailed maps of the controlled area and a full description of the boundaries, and full information about the rules are at http://www.mpi.govt.nz
Whole fresh fruit and vegetables (except for leafy vegetables and root veges) can not be moved outside of the Controlled Area.
Within the wider Controlled Area there is a smaller central Zone A (which takes in a circle 200 metres out from the initial find), and whole fruit and vegetables cannot be moved outside of this Zone at all. Fruit and vegetables can continue to be transported from outside the Controlled Area into the Controlled Area.
Key fruits, vegetables and plants of concern are:
All citrus fruits, all stonefruit, pears, apples, blackberry, boysenberry, grapes, feijoa, kiwifruit, passionfruit, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, pumpkin, avocado, custard apple, quince, persimmon, loquat, olives, oleander, kumquat, crab-apple, cape gooseberry and guava.
Residents are asked to avoid composting any of these risk fruits and vegetables. For disposing of fruit and vegetable waste, they are encouraged to use 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 people living in and around Parihaka, Riverside and parts of central Whangarei, but compliance with these restrictions is a critical precaution to protect our horticultural industries and home gardens,” Mr Coleman says.
“It is likely the restrictions will be in place for at least a couple of weeks.
MPI and its partners have deployed investigators in the affected area. They will be laying traps and checking fruit trees, vegetable gardens and rubbish bins for any signs of fruit flies.
“It is vital that we ascertain if the insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Northland which will need to be treated,” Mr Coleman says.
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.
This might seem a very strong reaction to the discovery of just one fly but it is the appropriate one to safeguard the fruit and vegetables that would be endangered if this unwanted Aussie immigrant got established itself and its mates here.