Fruit locked down in hunt for fly

MICHAEL FIELD AND SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 07:49 14/05/2012

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Fruit controls could stay in place in affected Auckland suburbs for up two more weeks while officials continue to hunt for signs of a breeding population of the Queensland fruit fly.

The search for the fly continues today following news yesterday that traps set in Auckland have not uncovered any further flies.

A single male fly was found in New Lynn on Thursday and a controlled zone was quickly set up, but the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said yesterday testing on samples from fruit fly traps in the zone had not found any more.  

The area includes 5540 homes and light industrial sites.

Ministry deputy director General Andrew Coleman said "this is a very pleasing place to be".

A large MPI team was at the Avondale markets yesterday, on the edge of the controlled area.

Fruit was found there that had come from the controlled area and MPI officials removed it.

"The good thing is that this is a really important issue and that has been appreciated by every person we dealt with," Coleman said.

"People understand this is a serious matter."

He said it was important that people in the New Lynn controlled zone didn't move fresh fruit or vegetables outside the area's boundaries, and that they disposed of fruit and vegetable waste in the bins provided from tomorrow and not in normal rubbish collections.

Coleman said people in the zone did not need to go searching for fruit flies.

"These insects are very difficult to identify by eye alone and people need to trust in the traps," he said.

"The traps that we have set are internationally recognised as the best way to locate any breeding population present, and if one is there, we will find it."

He said people in the zone can take cleaned and cut fruit out in school and work lunches, and that if people in the zone had fruit and they wanted to move it out, they could apply for an MPI permit to do so.

The ministry said yesterday it had 71 traps set up to lure and capture any fruit flies in fruit trees in zone A, the area stretching 200m out from where the fruit fly was found.

There are 188 traps in fruiting trees in the wider zone with more being installed. Ripe fruit from trees in zone A has been collected for testing for larvae.

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