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Whangarei Queensland fruit fly: Operations update 5

Whangarei Queensland fruit fly: Operations update 5

30 January 2014

To date, no further fruit flies have been found.

Field work is ongoing in Whangarei with teams inspecting gardens and rubbish bins for any signs of fruit flies and collecting and re-setting traps to detect any flies present. They are also collecting fruit and vegetables from home gardens and also from disposal bins for analysis.

There are 83 lure traps in place in Zone A (a 200m circular zone around the find location) and 189 traps in Zone B (a wider circular zone extending out 1.5km from the find location).

MPI will continue to update results from trap inspections as they come to hand. Traps from throughout the Controlled Area are being inspected regularly.

The two zones make up a Controlled Area which was put in place on Thursday 23 January with the issuing of a Controlled Area Notice. This restricts the movement of fruit and some vegetables out of the specified area.

The restrictions on the movement of fruit and some vegetables will be in place until MPI has sufficient evidence that there are no Queensland fruit flies 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 restrictions apply to all movements of whole fruit. Parents of children living in the Controlled Area and sending their children to school outside the area will need to leave 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.

MPI asks that people planning to attend this weekend’s cricket international and also the Sunday produce market be mindful of the restrictions.

All properties within the entire Controlled Area have been visited and residents provided with full information about the fruit fly. All these properties have also been inspected for the presence of fruit trees and vegetable gardens with host plants for the fruit fly.

231 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.

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

Information continues to be handed out at the Countdown supermarket within the Controlled Area, and customers are being informed about the movement restrictions on fruit and some vegetables through signs, personal approaches, leaflets and the in-store PA system.

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.

Note: MPI will post a situation update tomorrow (Friday 31 Jan) but, provided the situation remains the same, does not plan to issue updates on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 February. MPI will release information over the weekend should there be a significant change in the operation – e.g. the finding of further fruit flies.

ENDS

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