28 Aug 2015

Scientists work together on fruit fly control

7:22 am on 28 August 2015

New Zealand and Australian scientists are working together on new research to improve detection and control of the major horticultural pest, the Queensland fruit fly.

A Queensland fruit fly found in Grey Lynn.

A Queensland fruit fly found in Grey Lynn. Photo: MPI

The fly is spreading and becoming established in south-eastern parts of Australia.

And surveillance and control measures are still in place in Auckland after the detection of the pest there earlier this year.

The Plant and Food Research Institute has collaborative projects going with Australian research bodies, who are focusing a lot of attention on releasing sterile flies to disrupt fruit fly breeding.

Scientists here are developing better ways of luring fruit flies into traps.

Plant and Food Research Science Group Leader Dr Max Suckling said it was in New Zealand's interest to help control the spread of the fly in Australia.

"I think it makes a lot of sense for New Zealand to try and look at biosecurity threats and take the border off shore if I can put it like that, in other words to help the Australians gain control so there's less pressure on our borders.

"It's easy for people to forget that they've got a piece of fruit in their bag, and that's one of the possible ways that the insect gets into the country from time to time.

"Anything at we can do to reduce the incidence of the fly back in Australia is going to reduce its likelihood of turning up on our borders."

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