QFF flies across the ditch

By Country News

The discovery of a second Queensland fruit fly in New Zealand’s biggest city has biosecurity services scampering to find any more of the potentially devastating pest.

Alarms were raised in the Auckland suburb of Devonport last week after a male fruit fly was found in a trap, with residents asked to not transport produce in or out of the area and authorities setting traps in the area.

On Thursday morning, New Zealand Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor announced another of the Australian flies had since been found in nearby Northcote.

Trap-checking in the area has now been expedited, with 70 staff on the case.

‘‘We need to know what we are dealing with as the response ramps up at pace to ensure the fruit fly doesn’t establish here,’’ Mr O’Connor said.

The pest, which has caused significant damage to Australian crops, has been discovered in New Zealand on five previous occasions, but was only once found to be breeding and eradicated in each case.

Authorities say, if established, the fly could cause significant harm to New Zealand’s $NZ5.5billion horticulture sector.

A fruit fly of a different species was also found in south Auckland.