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Whangarei Queensland fruit fly: Operations update 8

Whangarei Queensland fruit fly: Operations update 8

4 February 2014

To date, no further fruit flies have been found.

After a single male Queensland fruit fly was found in one of the Ministry’s surveillance traps on 21 January 2014, restrictions on the movement of fruit and some vegetables out of a specified Controlled Area were put in place to prevent any spread of the insect, should a wider population of the fly be present.

Visitors to the area for Waitangi Day are reminded that there are restrictions on the movement of fresh produce in Whangarei. All fresh produce passing through the Controlled Area needs to be sealed in plastic bags and the windows of the vehicle kept closed. Produce purchased in the Controlled Area must be consumed or disposed of in the Controlled Area.

Parents of children living in the Controlled Area and sending their children to school outside the area will need to leave whole fresh fruit out of lunchboxes until further advised. Sliced fruit can be included where by cutting it open, fruit can be seen to be in good condition with no bugs present in it.

Information about the controls continues to be handed out at the Countdown supermarket within the Controlled Area, and the PAKnSAVE supermarket just outside the area.

MPI thanks the Whangarei community for its ongoing support in complying with restrictions on the movement of fruit and some vegetables.

Field work continues today in Whangarei with teams collecting and re-setting traps and collecting fruit and vegetables from home gardens and also from disposal bins for analysis.

MPI will continue to update results from trap inspections as they come to hand.

A field laboratory is in place examining fruit and vegetable samples collected from within the affected area and will identify any suspect insects collected.

The Controlled Area comprises two zones - Zone A (a 200m circular zone around the find location) and Zone B (a wider circular zone extending out 1.5km from the find location).

Whole fruit and some vegetables (excluding leafy and root vegetables) cannot be moved outside of the Controlled Area.

MPI has placed 83 lure traps in place in Zone A and 193 traps in Zone B. These traps are being regularly collected and inspected to detect if any further Queensland fruit flies are present.

271 wheelie disposal bins are in place at private homes and key locations throughout the Controlled Area so residents can dispose of any fruit or vegetables or produce waste. MPI is collecting these, taking some material for analysis and safely disposing of the material.

The restrictions on produce movement will be in place until MPI has sufficient evidence that there is no population of Queensland fruit fly present in the area. This will entail traps being checked until they have been clear of any fruit flies for 14 days. At this stage the controls are likely to be in place until February 8.

The Queensland fruit fly is an unwanted and notifiable organism that could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry and home gardens. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables.

MPI is in continual contact with other retailers in the area to liaise and ensure that they and their customers are aware of the restrictions.

There have been no adverse reactions by trading partners to the detection of the single fruit fly.

ENDS

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